By John W. Cox, MFA
A Short Synopsis
“Archaeological finds, including one at Oregon’s Fort Rock Cave (13,000 B.P. Klamath Knot et al.) on the periphery of the Great Basin show us (i.e. 9-digs indicate that humans first entered the greater Pacific Northwest during the late Pleistocene), when glaciers still covered some of the mountainous country of the PNW interior, and the conifer-islands, dominated by forests and wildlife alike, represented over half of this land mass, wildlife flourished.
Before the dramatic warming of the climate between 11,000 and 9,000 B.P., wildlife included the giant ground sloth, the giant bison, the camel, and Wild Horses and pygmy mammoth present in North America – and many other grazers’. They all intermingled with present-day animals, such as antelope, deer, mountain sheep, and a variety of bird life. And the survivors, the Wild Horses and all the others we see today, “survived” the Pleistocene Era quite well – no information/evidence exists to the contrary. And here they are, right here today – no mystery, just blatant ignorance to ignore what is right in front of many people’s eyes.
My point here is the fact, when ambiguous, or those who lack knowledge of the truth (i.e. from bias or ignorance), people state 10,000 to 13,000 years ago the Wild Horses went extinct, and yet many digs show that 10,000 to 13,000 years ago not only were there wild horses roaming our planet in the Pacific Northwest, but many other animals also. True enough, much of the wildlife at that time not here today because they did go extinct. The Wild Horses are here today, because they not only did not go extinct, or magically disappear from the face of this planet, but thrived very well. Just as the deer and other animals survived – healthy grazers.
Humans just started to come into the Plasticine Era PNW during this time. As many scientists are starting today, not only was the Plasticine Era, or the Ice Age, not as harsh as everyone thought, but there is no evidence to show there was a “human involved kill-off of Wild Horses”, specifically. No evidence!
The fact that during modern times, and after the Spanish horses arrived, which were at that time comparable to the Volkswagen in the sixties and seventies and a good utility horse to own, were simply left to roam the countryside, and did intermix with very few Wild Horse herds. Also, due to the irresponsibility of the ranching industry at that time during the old Western days, many mixed breeds of ranch horses did enter into and onto public lands. Here we do not debate those issues, because we still find during eDNA and mDNA process and procedures, the X factor of the original Wildhorse survivability is and always has been within the dynamic of that process. Many bands across public lands currently reflect this situation, not just as theory, but as a reality.” – John W. Cox, MFA
- For a brief account of the Fort Rock and other Northwest archaeology excavations, see L. S. Cressman, The Sandal and the Cave: The Indians of Oregon (1962; Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1981).
- This reference is to the physiography region that embraces the present states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, northern California and Nevada, western Montana, and southern British Columbia. The greater Columbia River system also provides a definitive outline for the region.
- C. Melvin Aikens, Archaeology of Oregon (Portland: Oregon State Office, U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 1986), 9-10.
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