March 06, 2009

Earliest horse domestication in Kazakhstan

I had previously blogged about the Botai culture. From the news release:
The researchers have traced the origins of horse domestication back to the Botai Culture of Kazakhstan circa 5,500 years ago. This is about 1,000 years earlier than thought and about 2,000 years earlier than domestic horses are known to have been in Europe. Their findings strongly suggest that horses were originally domesticated, not just for riding, but also to provide food, including milk.
Science doi:10.1126/science.1168594

The Earliest Horse Harnessing and Milking

Alan K. Outram et al.


Horse domestication revolutionized transport, communications, and warfare in prehistory, yet the identification of early domestication processes has been problematic. Here, we present three independent lines of evidence demonstrating domestication in the Eneolithic Botai Culture of Kazakhstan, dating to about 3500 B.C.E. Metrical analysis of horse metacarpals shows that Botai horses resemble Bronze Age domestic horses rather than Paleolithic wild horses from the same region. Pathological characteristics indicate that some Botai horses were bridled, perhaps ridden. Organic residue analysis, using {delta}13C and {delta}D values of fatty acids, reveals processing of mare's milk and carcass products in ceramics, indicating a developed domestic economy encompassing secondary products.



AK said...

I haven't been able to find out (with searches of available literature): does koumiss get around problems with lactose intolerance?

Either way, the answer would be interesting, especially tying in with Cochran's views regarding the Indo-European expansions, as expressed in e.g. "The 10000 Year Explosion"

Anonymous said...

can be some what relevent.