At Smithsonian Magazine:
Who were the earliest humans to look at horses and consider trying to ride them?
Archaeologists are now one step closer to answering that question. A new analysis of 5,000-year-old human skeletal remains has revealed the earliest known direct evidence of horseback riding.
In a recent study published in the journal Science Advances, researchers examined skeletons belonging to a Bronze Age group called the Yamnaya, who lived across the Eurasian steppe between roughly 3000 and 2500 B.C.E. – Julia Binswanger (March 7, 2023)
How long will it be before it’s pushed back to 10,000 years ago? It’s not that difficult a technology to grasp. Absent the internal combustion engine, horses are usually worth more to humans alive than dead.
The paper is open access.
You may also wish to read: Centaurs: The surprising truth – when humans meld with horses:
28 Replies to “Earliest known horseback riders pushed back to 5000 years ago”
I always thought it was interesting that a marathon is determined by the distance from Marathon to Athens.
The man who ran the distance announced the winner of the battle at Marathon, then died from the effort. Surely there was a horse somewhere that could easily make the trip much faster.
Chesterton said something about a friend of his telling him that watching an airplane take off was amazing, but not as wonderful as seeing a horse let a man ride on the horse’s back.
I gotta find that quote somewhere. I love it.
Asauber at 2, the horse training part is easier than we might think. The trick is to get the foal early enough that he doesn’t know that he isn’t “supposed to” do that. And, whatever else he knows or doesn’t know – he knows where his oats come from and who will fight off the wolf pack.
Jerry at 1, probably but did the Athenians even keep many horses? Pasture land was an issue in such places. Horses were actually a luxury. The average person made do with a mule or donkey, content with poorer conditons.
The battle was in Marathon and today is still very green.
I have no idea if the Greek army had any horses but even a donkey would have been faster. The whole event may have been made up as it didn’t get reported for a couple of hundred years.
Aside: I have a photo I took of the mound at Marathon where all the soldiers were supposedly buried.
Good points, Jerry at 5. We don’t know what happened for sure re the marathon. But, generally, horses are considered higher maintenance than donkeys, oxen, or camels, so – for what it is worth – in most cultures they were associated with the upper classes. The exceptions would, of course, be “horse cultures” as such.
I take it the key issue isn’t domestication per se, but the leatherworking and metallurgy for making the tools that allow riders to communicate with and control their horses.
Apparently horses were rarely used in ancient Greece because they were expensive to maintain, and so were exclusive to the rich — also apparently horses were used to pull chariots, and not ridden.
Jerry, IIRC the man had cumulatively run something like 100+ miles. Here they suggest 150 https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a20836761/the-real-pheidippides-story/ KF
General Comment: I suggest that the biggest misinformers are those in a lockstep media education power elite establishment who have failed in duty to truth and right reason. For example, Wikipedia is notoriously ideology driven, never mind platitudes about NPOV. It is astonishing that it is not a commonplace that evolutionary materialistic scientism is self refuting, self falsifying and cannot be true. Similarly, the Covid fiasco speaks for itself. Reichstag fire incident agit prop tactics are also closer to hand than we may want to believe, precisely because of narrative domination and ruthless agendas. The media lockstep, censorship and other dubious tactics that the covid fiasco helped to bring in speak for themselves; especially, as narratives begin to unravel. We need to take sober note as to who misled us and doubled down on misleading us. KF
I suggest that the most egregious misinformers are those who subscribe to and promote the most absurd conspiracy theories as long as they are judged to conform to their religious and/or political presuppositions and are thereby preferable to what are condemned as “lockstep media education power elite” establishment narratives. And while there may be a difference in degree, is there any difference in kind between the former and those who believe our society has fallen under the influence of reptilian shape-shifters, for example?
As for the missteps in the management of the COVID pandemic, they may have provided welcome fodder for the denizens of the conspiriverse but they came as no surprise to those of us who subscribe to the “cock-up” rather than the conspiracy theory of human history
For heaven’s sake, give it a rest. The article is about horses for crying out loud…….
Seversky at 11, if you are to present yourself as a purveyor of truth, who is unbiased by religious presuppositions, ought not you first be able to ground ‘truth’ within the reductive materialism of your Darwinian worldview?
You see Seversky, ‘truth’ is an abstract property of the immaterial mind that simply can’t be grounded within the reductive materialism of your Darwinian worldview.
How much does truth weigh? Does the concept of Truth weigh more in English or in Chinese? How long is the concept of Truth in millimeters? How fast does the concept of Truth go? Is the concept of Truth faster or slower than the speed of light? Is the concept of Truth positively or negatively charged? Or etc.. etc.. ?.
The entire concept of ‘Truth’ is an abstract property and/or definition of the immaterial mind that cannot possibly be reduced to any possible materialistic explanation.
And since Truth is obviously immaterial in its foundational essence then it necessarily follows that Darwinian materialism can never possibly be true since it can’t possibly ground truth., (And this ‘epistemological’ failure of Darwinian evolution as possibly being true comes way before we even start evaluating the myriad of falsifications of Darwin’s theory from empirical science).
You don’t have to take my word for the fact that Darwinian evolution can’t ground truth, Postmodern pragmatists, via their Darwinian presuppositions, have been claiming that objective truth does not actually exist for over a century now, ever since Darwin’s theory first made it to the shores of America. (as well they deny the existence of objective morality).
Of course denying the reality of objective truth, and yet claiming Darwinian evolution is objectively true, is a blatantly self-refuting position for Seversky, or any Darwinist, to be in. But alas, such things never seem to bother Seversky, or other Darwinists, and so I fully expect him/them to keep up his/their Darwinian cheerleading.,,, It is truly sad.
But anyways, to go a bit further. The existence of objective, immaterial, eternal, ‘truths’ turns out to be a fairly powerful argument for the existence of God.
And this argument can be clearly illustrated by simply referencing 1+1=2 and 2+2=4.
Although elementary school children intuitively know that 1+1+2 is objectively true, it turns out to be exceedingly difficult to actually try to prove that 1+1+2 is objectively true.
As well, at the 10:00 minute mark of the following video, the fact that it was exceedingly difficult for mathematicians to try to ‘prove’ that 1+1=2 is discussed.
In fact Godel, (as was touched upon in the preceding videos), ended up proving that in any arithmetic system, even in elementary parts of arithmetic, there are propositions which cannot be proved or disproved within the system.
In short, it turns out that it can neither be proved nor disproved that 1+1=2.
This puts Darwinian materialists in quite the bind. We all know, even elementary school children intuitively know, that 1+1=2 is objectively and eternally true.
Yet Darwinian materialists simply have no way to ground this objective, immaterial, and eternal truth of 1+1=2.
As Vern Poythress observed in his analysis of the implications of Godel’s proof, without God providing the solid foundation for their epistemology, atheists can’t even ‘know’’ that 2+2=4.
Moreover, Godel incompleteness is not just some proof that is limited to the upper echelons of the philosophy of mathematics, but Godel’s proof has now been extended into quantum mechanics. And this extension of Godel’s proof into quantum physics is simply devastating to the entire reductive materialistic foundation that Darwinian evolution itself is based upon.
Specifically, it is now proven that “even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,” and that “they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”.”,
I would like to think that Godel, (who was a Christian by the way), somewhere in heaven, is very pleased to know that his incompleteness proof has now been extended to undermine the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution at its very foundation.
The commitment to selling a product called unguided evolution must continue. They have no choice – at least they think they don’t.
I am not presenting myself as a “purveyor of truth” but I am critical of the absolute and eternal truths to which some others believe they are privy.
That depends on your definition of “truth”.
My working version is what I believe is called the correspondence theory in which the truth value of any claim about the nature of the observable Universe is the extent to which it corresponds to what it purports to describe and/or explain.
So what do you understand truth to be?
No, for me, truth lies in the relationship between what we observe and the narratives we create to explain those observations. Since those explanations can be applied to any or all of the observable layers in the reductionist hierarchy, I see no difficulty in grounding truth therein
As for those enamored with the concept of “worldview” I refer them to this blog post by Australian philosopher of science, John S Wilkins,
And I have no idea why you are dragging “pragmatic postmodernism” into this,
As I understand it, what we now regard as postmodernism emerged from a mode of literary criticism that arose long after Darwin. I doubt you will find many current evolutionary biologists who hold a postmodernist skepticism towards the possibility of access to objective truth.
And what do you understand objective truth to be?
Whatever Seversky. Your hand-waving denialism does not negate the fact that, whether you ever honestly admit it or not, your Darwinian worldview commits epistemological suicide at every turn.
For one instance (out of many),
Why does natural Evolution fail?
The answer is that the most fine tuned systems outside of the universe itself are ecologies. Nearly all ecologies are made up of thousands of factors, many of them living but many not. For an ecology to persist, it is necessary that there be thousands of tradeoffs.
When these tradeoffs are violated there is a substantial chance that the ecology will disappear as one of the variables starts to overwhelm the other factors (killing other life forms, consuming too much of the minerals needed for survival, changing the environmental elements).
So the introduction of a new life form by some sort of natural process will inevitably destroy most ecologies and thus itself. The bigger the difference between the new life form and previous life forms, the greater and faster the chance the disappearance of the ecology will happen.
We have four candidates for new life forms, Darwinian change, punctuated equilibrium, or some form of emergence are three proposed natural forms. Each of these will eliminate the ecology. The speed with which this happens is correlated with the method of naturalized Evolution proposed. The more offspring left, the faster the demise of the ecology.
There is a fourth method and that is design. An intelligence would know how to design change so as not to destroy an ecology. The latter is what we see as basic genetics allows small changes but rarely enough to overwhelm the ecology in which it exists.
We all know of a limited intelligence (humans) that has often upset ecologies by introducing new life forms or by eliminating essential variables within an existing ecology. But some much greater intelligence than humans seems to have thought it through and some distant time in the past implemented a design that allows changes for adaptation but not too much.
Aside: The main argument against ID is that there is no evidence of an intelligence ever existing so the process must be natural and not some form of guidance. The problem with this argument is the fine tuning. What produced that. No objectors to ID has a coherent answer.
Remember, any appeal to infinity is self referentially absurd.
The situation is not quite that simple.
It is true that “postmodernism” first influenced British and American universities through the Literature Departments. But the major influences here are French philosophers who were, in various ways and to different degrees, strongly influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche. (There are lots of reasons why French philosophers gravitated towards Nietzsche in the late 1960s, having to do with the turmoil in French politics, including academic politics, around that time.)
Nietzsche is, of course, a hugely controversial and provocative figure here. But I think the following claims are fairly well-attested. Firstly, Nietzsche was deeply skeptical about the possibility of “objective truth”. Secondly, Nietzsche thought that the impossibility of objective truth was entailed by facts of physiological psychology. Briefly, he thought that every organism “interprets” its environment in terms that are biased towards what organisms of that kind need in order to flourish (in whatever kind-specific terms “flourishing” means – flourishing for the pike is death for the minnows).
He had scant knowledge of Darwinism and he was critical of it in some regards (“one should not mistake Malthus for nature”) but he also saw it as broadly consistent with his idea that the ecological and physiological conditions of life could not have generated a capacity to know objective truths.
To make a really long story much shorter: it is not entirely absurd to see a line of influence running from Darwin to postmodernism via Nietzsche’s reading of Darwinism and his influence on Foucault and Derrida.
There are lot of serious misunderstandings, oversimplifications, and omissions in that historical overview. Just a few examples:
Firstly, the pragmatists preceded the Modern Synthesis. This matters because the Modern Synthesis emphasized the role of chance in the probability of novel genetic variations. For the pragmatists (and indeed for Darwin), chance did not play a crucial role.
Secondly, and more importantly: Dewey did think of intelligence as an evolved biological and social response to complexity of the biological and also social environments. But it no part of his picture that our best ideas are just those that outcompete the others in some struggle for survival. Rather, his point is that intelligence evolves as one way in which organisms handle the problems that they encounter: by solving those problems. But what makes a solution effective is that it really does alter our practical conduct with the world, and it can’t do that unless the solution really does map or model some feature of how the world really is.
In other words, it is simply not the case that pragmatism dispenses with, or allows us to reject, the correspondence theory of truth — on the contrary, it shows us how to understand what the correspondence theory of truth is.
That’s all true — but it must be stressed that Dewey has had virtually no influence at all on educational practice.
This skips over a few hundred years of epistemology, including the major innovations of Kant and Hegel. (Not to mention the massive changes in Western philosophy between Aquinas in the mid 1200s and Kant in the late 1700s.)
It was Kant, not Dewey, who revolutionized epistemology by making it focused on the epistemic conditions attainable by beings with minds like ours. And he did that in response to Hume’s skepticism. Dewey’s project was to synthesize the epistemology of Kant and Hegel with Darwin and post-Darwinian biology.
As argued above, this is a false dichotomy that Dewey very clearly rejected.
This is simply not correct at all. Evolutionary theory does not entail that theories are not true but only useful.
Evolutionary theory suggests that intelligence evolved in order to handle specific kinds of environmental complexity. In doing so, new kinds of problems arose — problems about the complexity of social environments. Our long-distant ancestors evolved the capacity to cooperate to solve collective problems, including the ability to transform our physical and social environments through technology.
One of the innovations we made along the way was the ability to come up with hypotheses — ideas about how the world might be — and then figure out how to manipulate the environment in order to test out which of our hypotheses was closer to being right.
Pearcey is just wrong when she suggests that evolutionary theory is “self-refuting.” It does not undercut rationality, nor does it undermine our capacity to explain how science enables us to understand how the world really is. Her argument is based on a historical narrative that is oversimplified, distorted, and misleading.
“One of the innovations we made along the way was the ability to come up with hypotheses — ideas about how the world might be — and then figure out how to manipulate the environment in order to test out which of our hypotheses was closer to being right.”
Our alleged ancestors were capable of abstract thought? Really? Weren’t we just a step or two above apes? Gathering food and maybe, if lucky, not getting eaten in the process?
The debates here all end up involving a clash between religious morals and virtue, and secular ideas where only man can educate man. God and religion should be left out. After all, some believe religion to be a hindrance to enjoying life, along with God. Like Richard Dawkins:
Take the Atheist Bus Campaign:
“The Atheist Bus Campaign was an advertising campaign in 2008 and 2009 that aimed to place “peaceful and upbeat” messages about atheism on transport media in Britain, in response to evangelical Christian advertising.
“It was created by comedy writer Ariane Sherine and launched on 21 October 2008, with official support from the British Humanist Association and Richard Dawkins. The campaign’s original goal was to raise £5,500 to run 30 buses across London for four weeks early in 2009 with the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
“Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, agreed to match all donations up to a maximum of £5,500, providing a total of £11,000 if the full amount were to be raised. The campaign reached that target by 10:06 am on 21 October and had raised £100,000 by the evening of 24 October. The campaign closed on 11 April 2009, having raised a total of £153,523.51.”
Ideas are selected for usefulness, and can accidentally be true.
PM1: “Our long-distant ancestors evolved the capacity to cooperate to solve collective problems, including the ability to transform our physical and social environments through technology.”
Yet another lie from PM1, (which is extremely ironic seeing that we are talking about the failure of Darwinism to ground ‘truth’).
Directly contrary to PM1’s claim, Darwinists have no realistic clue how man achieved the ability to communicate immaterial information to one another in order to eventually create technology.
In 2014, an impressive who’s who list of leading Darwinian experts in the area of language research, authored a paper in which they honestly admitted, after 4 decades of research no less, that they have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,”
The late best selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by this honest confession from leading Darwinists that he wrote a book on the subject. Here is a general outline of his main argument;
In other words, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian thinking, -i.e. let the strong live and the weak die-, managed to become masters of the planet, not via brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate immaterial information, and also to, more specifically, infuse immaterial information into material substrates in order to create, (i.e. intelligently design), objects that are extremely useful for our defense, basic survival in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also simply for our pleasure.
And although the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, that allowed humans to become ‘masters of the planet’, was rather crude to begin with, (i.e. spears, arrows, and plows etc..), this top down infusion of immaterial information into material substrates has become much more impressive over the last half century or so.
Specifically, the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates lies at the very basis of man’s most stunning, almost miraculous, technological advances in recent decades. For primary example, the computer sitting right in front of your face would not exist if it were not for the ability of man to infuse immaterial information into material substrates in a ‘top-down’ manner.
What is more interesting still about the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’, not via brute force, but through the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.
It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’, not via brute force, but precisely because of our ability to infuse immaterial information into material substrates.
Of course, a more convincing proof that we are ‘made in the image’ of God could be if God Himself became a man, walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, and then defeated death itself on a cross.
And that just so happens to be precisely the proof that we are ‘made in the image’ of God that is claimed within Christianity.
From 1903, when the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight, to 1945, less than 45 years had passed from that achievement to the first jet fighter, the German Me 262 and the first jet bomber, the Ar 234, another German design. The world’s first cruise missile, the V-1, and the first ballistic rocket, the V-2. Then the detonation of two atomic bombs over Japan.
While terrible, from these beginnings, the foundation of the modern world was laid. Yet, thankfully, nuclear weapons have not been used again. May God continue to have mercy.
I’m not sure why you think Slagle is relevant here. I was talking about Dewey’s version of pragmatism. Slagle doesn’t even mention Dewey. Whatever the merits of Slagle’s critique of naturalism, so far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with what Dewey says.
Perhaps Dewey simply is not a naturalist in Slagle’s sense.
I’m about 50% through with Slagle and I put it down because I got convinced that he’s attacking a strawman. The Skyhook is an interesting argument form, closely related (as he notes) to transcendental arguments. I find transcendental arguments quite fascinating, so I am by no means averse to the general form of the Skyhook.
Here’s a quick example of what I find irritating about Slagle’s book. In the chapter on “Popper Functions,” he quickly canvasses Popper’s claim that Quine cannot accommodate the third and fourth functions of language. Well, yes — Popper does say that. But is Popper correct? Is it really true that Quine’s theory of language cannot accommodate the third and fourth functions of language? Slagle has no interest in that question. Likewise, he quickly mentions Popper’s response to Sellars’s criticism, as if that were sufficient. I don’t think it is — Sellars is making a fairly subtle point about how the third and fourth functions of language can be accommodated by naturalism, and I find Popper’s response to be glib and dismissive. Yet Slagle accepts Popper’s response as the end of the matter.
Now, it’s true that if Slagle had delved into the details here, it would have been a much longer book and it would have taken more time. But I think it would have been a much better book as well.
I am looking forward to his section on indicators and detectors, since teleosemantics is part of my long-term research project.
You would need a textbook-level understanding of the debate between realism, conceptualism, and nominalism in order for us to continue this discussion.
2014 was nine years ago. Are you sure that there have been no breakthroughs in the evolution of language in all that time? Not even this one?