Science (New York, N.Y.) | 24 Feb 2018
C Gaunitz, A Fages, K Hanghøj, A Albrechtsen, N Khan, M Schubert, A Seguin-Orlando, IJ Owens, S Felkel, O Bignon-Lau, P de Barros Damgaard, A Mittnik, AF Mohaseb, H Davoudi, S Alquraishi, AH Alfarhan, KAS Al-Rasheid, E Crubézy, N Benecke, S Olsen, D Brown, D Anthony, K Massy, V Pitulko, A Kasparov, G Brem, M Hofreiter, G Mukhtarova, N Baimukhanov, L Lõugas, V Onar, PW Stockhammer, J Krause, B Boldgiv, S Undrakhbold, D Erdenebaatar, S Lepetz, M Mashkour, A Ludwig, B Wallner, V Merz, I Merz, V Zaibert, E Willerslev, P Librado, AK Outram and L Orlando
The Eneolithic Botai culture of the Central Asian steppes provides the earliest archaeological evidence for horse husbandry, ~5,500 ya, but the exact nature of early horse domestication remains controversial. We generated 42 ancient horse genomes, including 20 from Botai. Compared to 46 published ancient and modern horse genomes, our data indicate that Przewalski’s horses are the feral descendants of horses herded at Botai and not truly wild horses. All domestic horses dated from ~4,000 ya to present only show ~2.7% of Botai-related ancestry. This indicates that a massive genomic turnover underpins the expansion of the horse stock that gave rise to modern domesticates, which coincides with large-scale human population expansions during the Early Bronze Age.
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