“But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”
― Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
Within this written material I would like to call attention to something very significant. There is no doubt to many knowledgeable American’s that the elements of good science are on the decline today and ironically from those government agencies responsible for good science. But why is this significant today and for the tomorrows to come?
Opportunities develop the basis for science, then onward to answer significant questions, and at the same time preserve things that are of utmost importance on this planet. As humans we do not really pick and choose these elements – rather hope above all hopes that we observe those oh so correct elements, then take proper action based on sound and proper data, that develops into good decision making – then onward to secure that proper balance that exists within a particular element, and will coexist with a positive development within our universe.
Wild Horses on our Public Lands are just this situation, opportunities to expand our understanding of our planet, and our universe – cohabitation – a Universal Truth. We have missed the opportunity up to this point, as we have accepted very poor, but large amounts of source-references in the matter of Wild Horses up to this point in time.
The management of our Wild Horses and by government agencies demonstrates this negative-occurrence quite readily; whereas, proper decision making cannot be accomplished by bad or manipulated data – and as we observe daily, and bad data (i.e. government agencies at this time politically and monetarily directed) becomes quite costly as well. But we need not digress here, as much as offer enlightenment, a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak (or write).
There’s a lot to learn about Fossil Records
Because of science we have experienced extreme growth on our planet. As we observe the destruction of our environment today, developed from bad/manipulated-science, it consistently overwhelms the truth — We have a lot to learn yet in the matter of science, and especially our Fossil Records that remain abundant on this planet.
The recent history of a fossil-find, a Brown Bear in Alberta, Canada, explains my point quite well. As a Paleontologist remarks, “. . . this fossil-find illustrates significant implications of the serendipity of paleontology.”
Oddly, this also represents the problems associated with Wild Horse’s as being found indigenous in the Americas. Often research is overlooked, that would re-define the present history of the horse. Embarrassing to many people associated with science and research, the fact is many government personnel either find the true fossil records insignificant (motivated by unethical means most often); yet others find it difficult to combat, with true facts in hand, with such entities as the Department of the Interior and their false science paradigms toward management.
This government agency, in reality, defines its scientific goals within a political and even monetary representation of corporations in America. Within their paradigm, the truth means nothing, and corporate ideology means everything to them. The destruction of America remains on this unethical road to hell, as fossil records often become set-asides, ignored, and have even been known to wind up in dumpsters — then to the local garbage dump; disgusting behavior by government agencies indeed.
So we go further within our example here, which defines the not so attractive attitude above, but with a bit more empathy toward the problem. Fossils of Brown Bears were not known, for example, from below the extent of the ice sheets prior to 13,000 years ago and all bears south of the glaciers were genetically distinct from those north in Beringia. Where did they come from? The newly discovered fossil turned out to be over 26,000 years old – twice as old as previous discovered fossil bears – yet genetically similar to them.
“No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way… To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.” ― Henry Gee, In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life
What in truth is used in recording and establishing history, thereof, if the consistency of fossils located, and the attributes found within each dig – thus assimilated into a whole, or a graphic entity that becomes self-explanatory. There exists no explanation, or argument – if you will – from a government agency that references the continuity of fossil finds, rather just the opposite, and dictates the horse being non-indigenous due to one or two records of fossil finds. This remains inconclusive as a referenced situation, by our government employees, and knowledgeable people frown on such reference being given such importance or priority.
Within a previous article I highlighted the fact that bears and horses were often found in the areas where wooly mammoths were discovered (due to eating habits, et al.), even up to and including the year 1650. Now we discover Bears have similar problems within the fossil records, as do the Wild Horses – neglect?
“It’s always been a mystery why Brown Bears (i.e. the fossil discovery mentioned above) did not migrate farther south if they were in Beringia as early as 100,000 years ago, and the passage wasn’t blocked until about 23,000 years ago,” stated Paul Matheus, paleontologist at the Alaska Quaternary Center.
Although there was an implicit explanation that a population of bears with this distinct genetic identity had extended their range southward much earlier than could be demonstrated within the fossil record presently, there was a complete lack of any fossil records for a period spanning possibly 80,000 years.
Indeed, the fossil records for most animals are unavoidably spotty. With the Wild Horses in the Americas in mind, we can then go to what Bob Martin has to say — a paleoprimateologist, “. . . estimated at the time there were over 235 known species of living primates, and that 474 extinct species of primate had been described in scientific literature.”
Assuming average species duration of approximately 2.5 million years, based upon the number of fossil species known in each stratigraphic interval contrasted with the number known today, Martin estimated that as many as 8,000 to 9,000 extinct primary species have yet to be discovered in the fossil record. Yes, Wild Horses in the Americas remains one of these “to be discovered” finds.
“Our calculations,” concluded Martin, “indicate we have fossil evidence for only about 5% of all extinct primates, so it is as if paleontologists have been trying to reconstruct a 1,000 piece jig-saw puzzle using just 50 pieces.”
Wild Horses and Fossil Records
Interesting, how facts when combined with honesty, that truth does become unavoidable. Conclusively, science does not function without the entire data base of reality being present and acknowledged as such — just as a television or a washing machine does not work unless plugged-in.
When we explore the fossil records within a matter “not” of perspective, as that can be manipulated, but rather within the context of “learning” and of “knowledge” by the actual facts presented. Only then can we conclude an entirely different history of Horse’s in America; and the contradictions to what is available currently, does exist. This establishes, very well I might add, the Wild Horses and coincidently horses being indigenous in America.
Unfortunately, and the major problem, is the fact this knowledge, the fossil records, contradicts the government agencies who represent corporations only and on America’s Public Lands.
The Wild Horses for some contrary reasoning, then combined with ignorant reasoning, contradicts current government management paradigms as well. Yes, a criminal government takes a lot of things way from us in America (to include the non-essential and frivolous spending of taxpayer money), and it is time to fight back.
When perusing further the fossil records of the horse in the Americas, for example, and attritional history of horse bones (similar to Bear’s bones, et al.) being found on many archeological digs, we then discover more of the Indigenous nature of the horse being well established in the Americas; thereby, the Wild Horse can and should, by all technical as well as ethical reasoning, become listed as an Endangered Species in America.
June 29, 2014 at 7:29 pm
I’d like to add that NO ONE living on Earth right now should express equine extinction in North America as an absolute certainty. No one was there; all research into this period is still based largely on theory.
Despite the disappearance of Ice Age megafauna, North America still has species representative of it: We have bison, pronghorn, wolves and bear. Large raptors in bald eagles and other predatory birds. Moose, certain species of deer and Big Horn. Simply because we have no representatives of mammoth or camels does not mean ALL mammalian species of the time were wiped out completely.
We have oral and petroglyph histories of Native Americans that predate the Caucasian invasions by a thousand years or more. We have a recent discovery in the mountains of California of a horse and burro ceremoniously buried that is estimated to be at least 800 years old, also predating the presence of Europeans in North America.
We also see evidence of the roots of primitive equines in the dun colors and dorsal and leg stripes of wild horses and burros – not simply anomalous colorations, but indications of a direct line back to the ancient breeds.
So very little (official) time, energy or funding is devoted to actual study of wild equines past the perceived ‘damage’ they cause and their annoyance to those who use Public lands for profit. Labeling them ‘native’ is a threat to those interests, and conveys a nobility on them that seems to instill fear in Public land profiteers. Why else would they continue to deny wild equines this one simple thing?
Unlike predators or game animals, wild equines harm no one. They cost us nothing while they roam free. If the WH&B Program is out of control, it’s the trivialization of these animals that’s at the very heart of the crisis: If they have no inherent worth, either monetary or historical, it makes it easier to get rid of them.
THEN they begin to cost…
June 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm
Hmmm. I believe the Sulphur Horses who are owned domestically by some (including myself) and are still on the BLM management herd area of the Mountain Home Range are considered or declared “endangered species” by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy. I personally have not been on their sight for ages, so don’t recall their true mission or who actually runs it?
This to me could be a “plus” for at least these wild horses in this area if this conservancy sees them as endangered? Then they should be protected right? Not sure how much this may help or not, but worth knowing at least.
As well, the breeders/owners of Spanish Mustangs have gotten their earlier horses from numerous places in this country as well as possible BLM herd management areas before they were so called put under the direction of the BLM and the Spanish Mustangs along with various strains (including Sulphurs) are also listed as endangered on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy as well.
Might not mean much to some. Just further info to throw out there for what it is worth.
Photographer and Journalist
June 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm
This is what we call a “Backyard Protection” similar to making the statement — my horses in my corral are protected from the BLM and other groups, simply because of location. When we discuss Endangered Species Listing, we also are making the statement that a law has mandated the protection, with legal consequences with Felony Charges and accordingly with prison time, as well as large monetary fines, given to those who violate the Congressional Federal Mandated Law of ESL status. There exist many small herds of horses, on Federal Lands, that are currently ambiguously protected, but with no Congressional Mandate of Legislation that provides protection or penalties once the established breed of horses leave those lands and pastures. We must not confuse the Endangered Species Act (A Legislative Law) with other types of organizational protections — simply backyard protections with no teeth and within a name status (symbolic rather than a legality) only type of venture.
July 22, 2014 at 5:48 am
I am interested in what you are saying. Thank you
July 4, 2014 at 7:44 am
ISPMB (International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros) is one of the oldest Wild Horse and Burro organizations in the country. Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie) was its first president.
Princeton University Teams up with ISPMB to Study Equine Behaviors.
ISPMB herds show that functional social structures contribute to low herd growth compared to BLM managed herds
As we complete our thirteenth year in studying the White Sands
and Gila herds, two isolated herds, which live in similar habitat but represent
two different horse cultures, have demonstrated much lower reproductive rates
than BLM managed herds. Maintaining the “herd integrity” with a hands off
management strategy (“minimal feasible management”) and no removals in 13 years
has shown us that functional herds demonstrating strong social bonds and
leadership of elder animals is key to the behavioral management of population
ISPMB’s president, Karen Sussman, who has monitored and studied
ISPMB’s four wild herds all these years explains, “We would ascertain from our
data that due to BLM’s constant roundups causing the continual disruption of
the very intricate social structures of the harem bands has allowed younger
stallions to take over losing the mentorship of the older wiser stallions.
In simplistic terms Sussman makes the analogy that over time
Harvard professors (elder wiser stallions) have been replaced by errant
teenagers (younger bachelor stallions). We know that generally teenagers
do not make good parents because they are children themselves.
Sussman’s observations of her two stable herds show that there
is tremendous respect commanded amongst the harems. Bachelor stallions
learn that respect from their natal harems. Bachelors usually don’t take
their own harems until they are ten years of age. Sussman has observed
that stallions mature emotionally at much slower rates than mares and at age
ten they appear ready to assume the awesome responsibility of becoming a harem
Also observed in these herds is the length of time that fillies
remain with their natal bands. The fillies leave when they are bred by an
outside stallion at the age of four or five years. Often as first time
mothers, they do quite well with their foals but foal mortality is higher than
with seasoned mothers.
Sussman has also observed in her Gila herd where the harems work
together for the good of the entire herd. “Seeing this cooperative effort
is quite exciting,” states Sussman.
ISPMB’s third herd, the Catnips, coming from the Sheldon
Wildlife Range where efforts are underway to eliminate all horses on the
refuge, demonstrate exactly the reverse of the organization’s two stable herds.
The first year of their arrival (2004) their fertility rateswere 30% the following first and second years. They have loose band formations and some mares are without any harem stallions. Stallions are observed breeding fillies as young as one year of age. Foal mortality is very high in this herd.
Generally there is a lack of leadership and wisdom noted in the stallions as most of them were not older than ten years of age when they arrived. In 2007, a decision to use PZP on this herd, a contraceptive, was employed by ISPMB. This herd remains a very interesting herd to study over time according to Sussman.
“The question is, can a dysfunctional herd become functional,” says Sussman who speculates that the Catnips emulate many of the public lands herds.
In 1992 when Sussman and her colleague, Mary Ann Simonds, served
on the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, they believed that BLM’s
management should change and recommended that selective removals should begin
by turning back all the older and wiser animals to retain the herd wisdom. Sussman realizes that the missing ingredient was to stop the destruction of the harem bands caused by helicopter roundups where stallions are separated from their mares. “Instead, bait and water trapping, band
by band, needed to be instituted immediately,” says Sussman. Had this
been done for the past twenty years, we would have functionally healthy horses
who have stable reproductive rates and we wouldn’t have had 52,000 wild horses
in holding pastures today. BLM’s selective removal policy was to
return all horses over the age of five. When the stallions and mares were
released back to their herd management areas by the BLM, younger stallions
under the age of ten fought for the mares and took mares from the older wiser
stallions. This occurs when there is chaos happening in a herd such as
Sussman also believes that when roundups happen often the
younger stallions aged 6-9 are ones that evade capture. This again
contributes to younger stallions taking the place of older wiser stallions that
remain with their mares and do not evade capture. She is advocating that the
BLM carry out two studies: determining the age of fillies who are pregnant and
determining age structures of stallions after removals.
Currently Sussman is developing criteria to determine whether
bands are behaviorally healthy or not. This could be instituted easily in
observation of public lands horses.
Taken from BLM’s website: “Because of federal protection
and a lack of natural predators, wild horse and burro herds can double in size
about every four years.”
White Sands Herd Growth: 1999-2013 – 165 animals.
BLM’s assertion herds double every four years means there should
be 980 horses or more than five times the growth of ISPMB’s White Sands herd.
Gila Herd Growth:1999-2013- 100 animals.
BLM’s assertion herds double every four years means there should
be 434 horses or nearly four times the growth of ISPMB’s Gila herd.
Sussman says that BLM’s assertion as to why horse herds double
every four years is incorrect. The two reasons given are federal protection of
wild horse herds and lack of natural predators. ISPMB herds are also protected
and also have no natural predators, but they do not reproduce exponentially.
She adds that exponential wild horse population growth on BLM lands must have
another cause, and the most likely cause is lack of management and
understanding of wild horses as wildlife species. Instead BLM manages
horses like livestock. “According to the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, all
management of wild horse populations was to be at the ‘minimal feasible
level’,” Sussman says. “When the BLM’s heavy-handed disruption and destruction
of wild horse social structures is the chief contributing factor in creating
population growth five times greater than normal, than the BLM interference can
hardly be at a ‘minimal feasible level.’”
Sussman concludes that ISPMB herds are given the greatest opportunity for survival, compared to the BLM’s herds which are not monitored throughout the year. “One would assume,” Sussman says, “herds that are well taken care of and monitored closely would have a greater survival rate. Yet, even under the optimum conditions of ISPMB herds, they still did not increase nearly 500% like BLM herds.”
July 4, 2014 at 7:49 am
REPRODUCTION, MORTALITY, AND OVERPOPULATION IN WILD EQUIDS
by ROBERT C. BAUER, B.S. in Biology
July 4, 2014 at 8:10 am
Karen Sussman, President of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros, stated these facts in a letter to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior (with a copy to Neil Kornze, BLM Director and Joan Guilfoyle, BLM’a Wild Horse and Burro Program Division Chief).
Sussman also concluded that “BLM’s management of wild horses is actually increasing fertility rates due to heavy-handed disruption and destruction of the social structures from frequent roundups.”
You can (and should) read the entire letter HERE. http://www.ispmb.org/Letter.html
July 8, 2014 at 6:21 am
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: SHUFFLE WILD HORSES
On Sunday June 29, 2014 I drove by BLM’s Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center. It was closed to the public, but that’s not why it looked deserted.
This morning I called Jeb Beck, temporary director of the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption center was that I saw so few horses.
I was told that although a few new horses had come in — “nuisance” horses baited trapped in Ely — and some horses were out of sight in corrals where there hooves were being trimmed — I wasn’t seeing things. There really were fewer mustangs.
Instead of the usual 1300 captives, the corrals held 950.
Beck told me that young horses were being moved around for adoptions and older mares (5-6 years old) were trucked to the corrals at the Carson City prison, “…in case we ended up with an emergency and we’re full.”
I hope there’s no emergency, hope the horses head uphill, find water and safe haven where they can raise their foals in peace.
But if there is a summer emergency, I sure hope it’s not heat-related.
I took this photo a few weeks ago when the horses were scrunched down in a low spot still damp from rain earlier that week.
Yesterday, I still didn’t see shade for this week’s 100+ temperature.
There’s nowhere to get out of the sun.
Eyes open, all. The horses need our help.
July 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm
Centuries-old bones of horses unearthed in Carlsbad