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Shaking the horse family tree

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Przewalski horse/Alan Outram

Ah, start the day with fond memories. Most people who were kids in the mid-twentieth century grew up with the icons of horse evolution, starting with grubby little Eohippus and ending with Black Beauty. Of course, the story didn’t need to be true and as Jonathan Wells pointed out in Icons of Evolution, it wasn’t really true, at least not in a factual way. It was more the idea of evolution that was supposed to sink in for us. As CS Lewis has pointed out, Darwinian evolution was a great story, not necessarily to be confused with facts of nature.

Meanwhile, at ScienceDaily:

There are no such things as “wild” horses anymore.

Research published in Science today overturns a long-held assumption that Przewalski’s horses, native to the Eurasian steppes, are the last wild horse species on Earth. Instead, phylogenetic analysis shows Przewalski’s horses are feral, descended from the earliest-known instance of horse domestication by the Botai people of northern Kazakhstan some 5,500 years ago.

Further, the new paper finds that modern domesticated horses didn’t descend from the Botai horses, an assumption previously held by many scientists.

So the genome mappers tinkering with the story have taken Przewalski’s horse too… a prize splinter in the lectern… oh, the rats… 😉

“This means there are no living wild horses on Earth — that’s the sad part,” said Olsen. “There are a lot of equine biologists who have been studying Przewalskis, and this will be a big shock to them. They thought they were studying the last wild horses. It’s not a real loss of biodiversity — but in our minds, it is. We thought there was one last wild species, and we’re only just now aware that all wild horses went extinct.”

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News at Linked In

Hey, wait a minute. Wild horses did not go extinct. They sold out. The same thing would happen to all the kitty cats in the world if people everywhere offered to look after them. We should save the word “extinction” for species that are no longer here in any sense – provided we can nail down a less arbitrary definition of species.

The details of horse lineage as still unclear:

“What’s interesting is that we have two different domestication events from slightly different species, or separate sub-species,” she said. (The Przewalski’s horse’s taxonomic position is still debated.) “It’s thought that modern-day domesticated horses came from Equus ferus, the extinct European wild horse. The problem is they were thought to have existed until the early 1900s. But, the remains of two individuals in St. Petersburg, Russia, are probably feral, too, or at least probably had some domesticated genes.” Paper. (paywall) – Charleen Gaunitz, Antoine Fages, Kristian Hanghøj, et al. Ancient genomes revisit the ancestry of domestic and Przewalski’s horses. Science, 2018; eaao3297 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao3297 More.

See also: Stasis: Horses still have all five original digits, say researchers

and

Convergent evolution? Horses, humans see world the same way

Meanwhile, enjoy the vid:

4 Replies to “Shaking the horse family tree

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Darwin vs. the Fossils
    Excerpt: “A team of 22 international researchers led by Ludovic Orlando of the University of Lyon in France did one of the first-ever comprehensive comparisons of ancient DNA (aDNA) from fossil equids (including horses, donkeys and zebras). These specimens came from 4 continents. The results were so shocking, they call for an almost complete overhaul of the horse series. For one thing, they concluded that many specimens relegated to separate species are actually variations on the same species. For another, they found that for evolution to be true there had to be sudden bursts of diversification – Cambrian-like explosions within the horse family – contrary to Darwin’s prohibition of great and sudden leaps.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20091211a

    The New Horse Series: Genomes Confuse “Textbook Example of Evolution” – Dec. 3, 2014
    Horses, asses and zebras show evidence of gene flow despite extreme chromosome rearrangements.
    An international team studying genomes of living members of the genus Equus (horses, asses and zebras) was astonished at how different species could share genes despite extreme chromosomal rearrangements.,,,
    “Strikingly, we find multiple instances of hybridization throughout the equine tree, despite extremely divergent chromosomal structures. This contrasts with theories promoting chromosomal incompatibilities as drivers for the origin of equine species.”,,,
    “we conclude that such massive karyotypic changes have not resulted in full reproductive isolation, in stark contrast with theories assuming that chromosomal impairment during meiosis is responsible for complete sterility in hybrids, but in agreement with the description of fertile offspring across equine species.”
    In fact, the authors mention a rare case: “Interestingly, although mules are generally sterile, a similar quartet involving a fertile female mule, a male donkey, and two offspring was reported recently.” Since the “biological species concept” defines a species as capable of producing fertile offspring, this casts confusion into the taxonomy of Equus.,,,
    http://crev.info/2014/12/new-horse-series/

    “The construction of the whole Cenozoic family tree of the horse is therefore a very artificial one, since it is put together from non-equivalent parts, and cannot therefore be a continuous transformation series”.
    Dr. Heribert Nilsson – Evolutionist – Former Director of the Swedish Botanical Institute.

    The evolution of the horse?
    http://creation.com/horse-evolution

    The non-evolution of the horse
    http://creation.com/the-non-evolution-of-the-horse

    Disproof of evolution is proof of evolution? – Ian Juby – video
    (1.8 Billion year old bacteria stasis, ape to man fossils incorrect order, horse fossil sequence in the incorrect order & has a manipulated backbone, fishopods/tetrapods incorrect order)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khiXBY6aUOg

  2. 2
    bb says:

    Hi BA,

    Dave Coppedge upgraded his Creation Safaris, and Creation-Evolution Headlines, websites. They are no longer straight html, stand-alone web pages, so his links have changed. For instance, the article titled “Darwin Vs. The Fossils”, you referenced, is now at
    https://crev.info/2009/12/darwin_vs_the_fossils/

    Anyway, it’s nice to see you posting again. I admire your extensive list of quotes that are always informative.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks bb, will upgrade link.

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    BA77 – Do you have all of these listed somewhere? Have you thought of organizing them into a book?

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