In the matters of so much evidence, that wild horses are indeed Indigenous to North America, it becomes an imperative that roundups stop. As well, the cattle-only paradigm is an insufficient excuse to allow further roundups, as we potentially are speaking about an Indigenous Species to North America, which due to recent information, may be significant in events toward our natural environment. The actual reduction of populations of wild horses, in order to place more and more cattle on public lands, is of questionable standards and ecology, which equates to no Conservation or Ecological efforts what so ever, made toward America’s Public Lands.
The extinction of particular species, by human’s and climate, have been the topic of much scientific debate today. Ironically, the Ice Age may not have been as devastating to many mammals as we were led to believe. There is a majority of evidence, and more accumulating almost weekly right now, that supports the hypothesis of “Pleistocene Overkill” (Martin and Wright 1967, Flannery 2001), or events similar to this same situation, perhaps not as dramatic within a population-kill context.
What we are finding currently is this:
- Pleistocene Horse Bones are being found at Pre-Columbian archeological dig sites in the west;
- Pleistocene Mammoth bones are being located in huge bone-piles, with human-made spear tips throughout their skulls and bodies, and within several Pre-Columbian dig sites, as well as Pleistocene Horse Bones — in grassy meadows sites in the west.
What does this mean? That Wild Horses in the west are Indigenous Species and require protection under the Endangered Species Act — it also means that such agencies as the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior have been lying all along in the matters of the wild horses not being an Indigenous species.
What is required here? That a MORITORIUM be imposed on further wild horse roundup and/or birth control and/or sterilization situation be accomplished immediately! If not, then the present Administrators and Managers of the BLM and DOI will be held accountable, and taken to task for such poor attention to factual science, and their incompetence —
Wildlife Overkill Events
If not in total, it then becomes a significant link to a combination of Ice Age and Pleistocene Overkill – which leads many of us to believe that wild horses did survive, and current overlooked evidence, from the past attests to this situation. The fact is many archeologists and paleontologists of the past, simply took the non-debatable route (career oriented) of non-inclusive animals from Ice Age survival.
The fact is questions are easily answered, in the matters of so many wild horse bones being found along side — of and with – Dwarf Woolly Mammoth bones, as both fed on similar vegetation, and existed pre-ice age as well as post ice-age – as shown at many modern-day archeological sites.
This hypothesis of Pleistocene-Overkill suggested that as humans spread across the two continents, they preyed upon the large herbivores, such as mammoths, ground sloths, etc. Such large animals are more vulnerable to extinction than smaller ones because they cannot hide as easily, and because their lower reproductive rates cannot compensate for the losses due to hunting. Horses are within this categorical situation as well, but being smaller at that time, the question does arise, were all wild horses killed, or were there many left to breed, that is, once the larger prey-animals become extinct?
Before humans entered the picture, North America had an impressive assortment of large mammals and birds. The herbivores of this megafauna included 3 species of elephants (woolly mammoths, giant mammoths, and mastodons), horses, camels, giant bison, giant ground sloths, giant armadillos, tapirs, giant beaver, giant tortoises (roughly the size of Volkswagen bugs), and a peccary as large as the wild boars of Europe.
They also may have had a fearlessness of humans, somewhat like the dodo bird, because these animals evolved without human presence. When the large herbivores disappeared, their natural predators, such as saber-toothed tigers and short-nosed bears, became extinct as well. The large scavenger bird species, adapted to eating the remains of large animals, then followed into extinction. The California condor may have held on because it had access to the carcasses of marine mammals, which did not suffer high extinction rates at that time.
Questions Abound in Realistic Horse Extinctions
Some researchers propose that North American caballine horses did not become extinct, and instead persisted until historical times (Clutton-Brock 1981). This hypothesis has not been previously generally accepted because: (1) No horse bones from the late pre-Columbian era have been found to support the idea, and (2) no indisputable images of horses have been found in late pre-Colombian American Indian “art” — That is, until the Nevada find, the Oregon finds, the New Mexico finds, numerous Alaska finds, the substantial Northwestern Canada finds, etc. All of these archeological finds reported not only late pre-Columbian horse bones, but images on horses within nearby caves, some were considered overlooked in the past, and some misidentified as other than late pre-Columbian America Indian “art.”
Furthermore, when the Spanish arrived with their horses to Mexico in the 16th century, the Aztecs and other educated peoples of that region did not initially understand what horses were. All horses found today in North America are thus believed to be descended from horses brought to the New World from the Old World after the year 1492. Misidentification had plagued proper identification of the horse throughout history, many times, which only now is being questioned as well.
After over 55 million years of evolution and residence in North America, horses became extinct, supposedly. This extinction occurred either in the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. (The Holocene is the period of time we live in now. It began after the Wisconsonian glaciers melted, roughly 10,000 years ago.) But in reality, were they simply left unseen, or around so much perhaps taken for granted? Well, we remain unsure – for example even in the old west, even though not mentioned in many history books or records, we know horses played a part in not only transport, but farming, ranching, building of cities, trail building, surveys, roadwork, et al.
Were the hunters/gatherer’s distracted by other wildlife, more palatable, so the horse neglected in total, or shoved aside? Because explanation still needs to be developed in horse bones next to the Dwarf Woolly Mammoth bones, late pre-Columbian era, that are currently being found at archeological sites throughout the western United States.
Horse Species Survival
When horses became extinct in the New World, some species of Equus still survived in the Old World (e.g. zebras, wild asses and caballines) that portray a hypothesis that wild horses from the Pleistocene era more than likely survived as well. Their ancestors had dispersed there years earlier via the Bering Land Bridge, which connected Alaska to Siberia during periods when sea levels were lower. Many of these horse species are still living, however most surviving species are now endangered. But one significant problem — we have no sense of confirmation, acceptability of how many species were at that time or remain alive today —
The Bering Land Bridge, also known as the central part of Beringia, is thought to have been up to 600 miles wide. Based on evidence from sediment cores drilled into the now submerged landscape, it seems that here and in some adjacent regions of Alaska and Siberia the landscape at the height of the last glaciation 21,000 years ago was shrub tundra – as found in Arctic Alaska today.
And the mystery becomes much more, well, let’s just say either short-sighted or confused, as some questions are answered — The vegetation, i.e. throughout Beringia, was first believed would not have supported the large, grazing animals – woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, Pleistocene horses, camels, and bison.
These animals lived on the vegetation of the steppe-tundra which dominated the interior of Alaska and the Yukon, as well as interior regions of northeast Siberia. Although, the shrub tundra, found up to this point, would have supported elk, perhaps some bighorn sheep, and small mammals. But problems with both the finding of Woolly Mammoths as well as Dwarf Woolly Mammoths later, and throughout the western United States, places this information into serious questions categorically.
“Permafrost horses and what they tell us —- Horses depicted in cave art are generally stocky, mostly tan or yellowish with a white belly, and usually shown with a stiff, dark mane*. They thus resemble Przewalski’s horse of modern Mongolia. Corroboratory evidence that Ice Age horses of some populations looked like this comes not only from living wild caballoids but also from the Selerikan horse (or Selerikan pony), a Pleistocene stallion preserved in Siberian permafrost, discovered in 1968, and extensively described in works largely unknown in the west (Guthrie 1990, Ukraintseva 2013). * It should be noted that not all ancient horses were like this – we have evidence that some Pleistocene horses in North America (and maybe elsewhere) had long, flowing manes.”
Throughout the Holocene, wild caballine horses continued to range across the grasslands of Europe and Asia. Approximately 5,000 years ago, wild caballines were captured at numerous locations in this vast geographic area and domesticated by diverse peoples, as the knowledge and technology for capturing, taming and riding horses spread (Vilà et al. 2001; Bendrey 2012).
Horse’s Today Perhaps Misidentified?
Thus, the domestic horse of today originated not from one local population of wild horses, but from numerous populations spread across Eurasia (Vilà et al. 2001; Bendrey 2012). Only one of these original wild caballine populations still exists. It is known as Przewalski’s Horse – or is it simply the only one we want to accept, because it is the easiest to explain? The fact is we are also finding, through DNA as well as Bloodlines, Pleistocene era attributes . . . in horses across the United States, Spain, and other European areas, i.e. France as well . . .
The supposed extinction of North America’s horses occurred during a time period when many other large mammals throughout the world also became extinct. Was it more comfortable to simply attest to the extinction of wild horses to be included, as a fact; or, just comfort because no explanation available, and who cared about this upstart country called America?
But yes, more problems — It is hard to find agreement in the literature about terminal dates. Kurtén and Anderson (1980) reported a dating of 8,000 years ago for horse fossils from Alberta, Canada, but MacFadden (2005) writes that North American horses became extinct roughly 10,000 years ago. Oh, there is so much more confusion, and this just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun) so to speak.
In Alaska, stilt-legged horses became extinct about 31,000 years ago, while caballine horses became extinct about 12,500 years ago (Guthrie 2003). Interestingly, Alaskan caballines showed a precipitous decline in body size before extinction, and vanished 1,300 years before woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) became extinct in the same area (Guthrie 2003). But once again, the Dwarf Woolly Mammoths being found throughout the western United States, turns the theories above into highly questionable information – confused at best.
Because climate change often causes alterations in the abundance of many other organisms, such as food plants, disease vectors, predators and competitors, extinction scenarios involving climate change can be diverse and involve many different mechanisms.
Although still unproven, the “overkill hypothesis” is a plausible explanation and should be given serious consideration. However, the reader needs to be wary of the political agenda of both some of its supporters, and the dubious conclusions that they derive from it, as well as the detractors, and simply not wanting to toss confusion into the game of horse breeding or authenticating blood-lines.
Conclusion or A Beginning
The modern-day American, like humans everywhere, are passionate horse lovers. The fossil record’s revelation to us all, that our very own continent is the ancient motherland of horses, has deepened the already strong emotions that we all feel toward horses, and strengthens Our-Bonds, that we indeed have with these extraordinary animals.
One example is the recent interest we Americans show for saving various species of Old World horses from extinction. This is developed to authenticate and bring concerns that such species occurred in North America, are closely-related to horses that existed centuries ago.
Some people, such as myself, strongly suggest introducing these species back into America, and to set all the wild horses in captivity, back onto America’s Public Lands – and for legitimate reasoning of not only historical nature, supported via current fossil records, but of value to All American’s, and the Iconic principles that do exist, whether or not our government reaffirms such situations or not. It is indeed a controversial proposal that is being studied more closely and debated (Donlan 2005; Oliviera-Santos and Fernandez 2010; Cox 2014; Cox 2009; Simson-Cox 2008; Stenson 2006).
There is no doubt we see a soul mate, a natural symbol of our own love for freedom, with deep and ancient roots in our own America – We are the Owners of America and the Wild Horses, and not the government nor any others that represent our behalf, and certainly not just the ranchers.
At the same time, the older fossil records are sobering, make no doubt of this situation. They had created revelation of the horse’s extinction in North America eight thousand years ago, and certainly reminded us today of the vulnerability of all nature and the need to make environmental protection a high priority. Even though current fossil records are showing us something different, extinction did not take place, even more sobering is the fact of how misinformation played such a roll within the current attempted demise of the wild horses on Public Lands.
Currently, this priority still exists, but now the priority of not only Humane Conduct, but developing the truth out of current Fossil Records, in a time when our own government in America has turned against the very people they are supposedly representing, and pay them to do so – thereby, throwing legitimate science, fossil records, and truthfulness into the wind. True American’s will not allow this façade to happen much longer . . .
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December 31, 2015 at 1:35 am
Recent DNA results have shown that “wildies” in the Chilcotin Plateau area of British Columbia share DNA with the horses of Siberia as well as European (primarily with Canadian and Spanish ) horses. Food for thought
December 31, 2015 at 4:31 pm
Trying to “educate” people who do NOT want to be educated regarding our wild horses & burros and pretty much all wildlife seems to be a lost cause. The animals are “in the way” and need to be gotten rid of ! The answer would seem to be animal advocates who know exactly how far towards eradication so many species have been pushed in the name of profit & greed. Exactly what are these people so afraid of? That the other species might rise up & eliminate the human race? Frankly, after all we have done to these creatures – could we blame them?
January 1, 2016 at 3:33 am
Good article and brings out so much that needs to be recognized. Check out my webpage at http://www.thewildhorseconspiracy.org for more corroboration concerning the native horse in North America as well as my book by the same name at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1461068983