There used to be all kinds of weird wild animals in the Americas, not so very long ago, if you think like a paleontologist. Mammoths, mastodons, horses, giant sloths, camels, unicorns, and griffins are all well represented in the fossil record. Then they went away: looks as if the Injuns ate  ’em.

But we don’t really know that they all went extinct ten thousand years ago:  the fossil record is not that complete.   What we do know is that at minimum they became much rarer. Most really did go extinct somewhere between then and now: I’m sure that there’s no longer any place for giant ground sloths  to hide [or run].

But imagine that a few wild horses survived the Clovis holocaust – hanging on in places like northern Nevada, in low numbers. Indians kept them from recovering much. Not much of a  fossil record, and you’d have to C-14 date them to notice that they’re anomalously young ( from a time where they shouldn’t exist).

Later, the Spanish show up, with domesticated horses.  Some get into the hands of Indians, some go feral – but all are genetically domesticated, readily tameable.  And the Indians now know that horses  can be ridden, something that apparently never occurred to their hunting ancestors.  At the same time, wild horse herds are increasing, since Amerindian populations are collapsing from Old World diseases.

If there were any remnant herds of ancestral North American horses, they mixed with Spanish-origin feral horses.  Probably the Spanish-origin horses would have done better, accounted for most mustang ancestry, just as Old World dogs largely replaced Amerindian dogs.  Better pathogen resistance, likely.

Still, American mustangs might still have a touch of archaic North American horse ancestry – unlike any Eurasian horses, perhaps – just as Eurasian humans have a touch of Neanderthal ancestry,  people from PNG have some Denisovan ancestry, and brown bears in Europe have some cave bear ancestry.

You might see something like this.






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85 Responses to Neanderhorse

  1. Hallie Scott Kline says:

    Well, this is a thrill—interesting, exciting news! Hoping this is how it happened—

  2. Yudi says:

    Great post; I’d never thought about this before. This is Greg at his finest. This blog has become too overtly political of late. I would rather read about Neanderhorses and animals with multiple sexes than Cordelia Fine and the left’s Islamophilia.

  3. Woof says:

    It would be interesting to clone the animal and see its behavior. I’d like to see how it differs from today’s horses. Likely more skittish and more ornery, and smarter too.

  4. Rosenmops says:

    ” Old World dogs largely replaced Amerindian dogs.”

    My son acquired a puppy while working in the Canadian Arctic. She is about 3/4 Eskimo dog. She is friendly with people but not with other dogs. She has yellow eyes and a strong prey drive. This summer my son tied her to a tree on the “dogs allowed” side of a park while he was swimming and kayaking and I stayed nearby to her with my pug and Chihuahua (my dogs on a leash and out of reach of the tied up dog.). It was basically a grassy field and there were a lot of ground squirrels. My son’s dog spent the entire time watching the ground squirrels with intense fascination. My dogs didn’t even notice the ground squirrels–they don’t even know what ground squirrels are.

    But despite her strong prey drive his dog has been living with 2 cats for years with no misadventures.

    My son got the puppy from a white woman who worked for the government (or something). She won’t give her puppies to the Inuit because they don’t treat them like pets–they are just always tied up outside. My son said that when he walked the puppy around the village he was followed by Inuit children who were both fascinated and afraid to see a dog that could be handled and petted, etc. It was a foreign concept to them.

    • Jason says:

      At a friend’s uncle’s place on the nearby Dene reserve, I learned the hard way not to try and pet one of the dogs that were staked out across the yard.
      I’m glad he mostly got my coat, but I still needed three stitches.

  5. Steve Sailer says:

    I’m wondering about rabbits in America. In Southern California there are lots of wild rabbits (not jackrabbits) in the hills — small, dingy brown, and nervous — that are interfertile with bigger domesticated white rabbits from Europe: I owned a pet rabbit who was clearly a hybrid: in between the two types in size and had attractive light brown and blond streaked fur, blue eyes, and an independent disposition.

    We’ve all heard about rabbits being introduced to Australia, but the history of rabbits in North America seems murkier. Are these wild rabbits in California native to North America, feral European rabbits that have evolved to survive in the brown hills, or some combination?

    • Cloveoil says:

      American rabbits are of Mediterranean origin and its a mystery why they are so successful today. In the wild despite the lack of a barrier to feral rabbits, they were geographically restricted. Probably the success of feral rabbits in the wild somehow relates to their distance from their wild ancestor – somehow. Otherwise their late range expansion in Europe doesn’t make sense.

      • JerryC says:

        It seems to me that rabbits are simply much better adapted to living around people than most rabbit predators are.

        • Cloveoil says:

          I’m talking about their early-mid Holocene range restriction: basically the Maghreb and Iberia with populations in southern France ie. north of the Pyrenees so there was no geographic barrier other than the climate or ecology. But until feral bunnies were released, they didn’t spread further into Europe as the climate ameliorated in the Holocene. Despite the minilal outward diversity between domestic rabbits compared to dogs or cattle, feral rabbits can’t just get their success from a wild ancestor if that ancestor was unable to colonize, for example, temperate climates such as Germany or England – they have a mutation of some sort.

        • Cloveoil says:

          And red foxes are very accustomed to even urban life in the UK. (addendum)

          I don’t know if this is true in the US or elsewhere; adaptation of wild species to human presence, even urbanisation, is not neatly predictable nor linear. (For example the urban herons of the Netherlands.)

          • dearieme says:

            We used to have a heron that would come and perch on our garage roof. We’ve not seen him for a while. Possible explanations include (i) neighbours have been filling in the fish ponds in their back gardens, (ii) we have a raptor that hangs around nearby.

            We do get foxes and muntjac in our garden but we no longer get hedgehogs.

            I blame Global Warming.

            • Cloveoil says:

              One off grey herons might be urbanised and unwelcome at fish ponds, but in the Netherlands I saw multiple herons in the canals, and they let you walk right up to them. This seems to be unique to the Netherlands, it doesn’t happen in the rest of Europe.

          • Christopher B says:

            Some fox but especially coyotes are quite common in suburban areas in the US. Could even expand into more urban areas. Anything that can subsist on carrion i.e. garbage is a good fit for urban life 🙂

            • Jim says:

              Coyotes are fairly common around Houston where I used to live. When there is heavy flooding to the north they are sometime driven into the city. I once saw two coyotes crossing I-35 from my office window.

              • Jim says:

                The Houston suburbs also have an enormous number of rabbits. You don’t see them during the day but when I was leaving my home before sunrise they were all over the place.

              • Jim says:

                Sorry, I meant I-10. Now I live in Central Texas near I-35.

          • mtkennedy21 says:

            I saw red foxes in New Hampshire when I lived there. In California and Arizona where I now live it is coyotes. I have rabbits in my yard, probably because I have one of the few areas of grass in Tucson. I do wonder what they eat besides my lawn. Plenty of coyotes around and lots of bobcats.

      • anonymous says:

        .”…..American rabbits are of Mediterranean origin…”

        No. See my other post.

    • anonymous says:

      “…Are these wild rabbits in California native to North America…”

      Yes. The native North American rabbit genus is Sylvilagus, and there are several species in different parts of the continent. In So-Cal, there are two. Sylvilagus is represented in the Ice Age tar deposits of La Brea, long predating any European rabbit importation. Also, unlike European rabbits, American rabbits do not create extensive underground warrens, though they may take over burrows left by other animals.

      I don’t know if they can hybridize with European rabbits or not.

    • Jacob says:

      Just yesterday a friend told me the legend of Scooter the Rabbit, being much larger than wild rabbits in his area and having a pitch black coat. Scooter’s proud heritage included being kept at the same store that used to own Ivan the Gorilla. Scooter was my friend’s beloved pet, and was kept in a cage outside because it didn’t get on with their cat. They often let Scooter out to play with it. One day, when my friend was eight years old, Scooter escaped. They heard rumors of a black rabbit wandering around their neighborhood for weeks, maybe even months, but they never saw the thing again.

      Fast forward well over 10 years.

      My friend graduated from college this recent May, and moved home for a few months until he found work. While taking a walk one day, he saw what looked like a black wild or feral rabbit skittering off in the distance. He was shocked by it, and immediately thought of his old rabbit. He’d never seen a wild or feral rabbit having nearly that coat color where he lived. Later that week, he saw a black flash disappearing under a car in the neighborhood. When he looked under the car, there was a blackish, piebald rabbit larger than a wild one, but smaller than a lot of domestic ones. We will never know, for sure, who sired that line of dark, piebald rabbits. But I choose to believe.

      Long live Scooter!

  6. Toddy Cat says:

    Lots of Indians insist that horses have “always” been in the Americas. I always just chalked this up to BS, or ancestral tales of hunting wild horses passed down for millennia, but who knows?

    Would be really interested of there are any other survivals out there besides neanderhorse and neanderbunny.

  7. Cloveoil says:

    Its always been a mystery why reindeer never got to Alaska, and I suppose that extends a bit to ponies. But if you want South America then Argentine creole horses converge upon Equus saldiasi, a caballine horse convergent upon onagers.

    • Janet says:

      Uh… Old World reindeer and New World caribou are the same species. Old World reindeer were domesticated, and so have been bred to be somewhat shorter (particularly bulls) and “meatier”, with smaller antlers, thicker fur, less desire to wander, less aggression, etc. But wild caribou and domesticated reindeer can interbreed, and the changes in the reindeer phenotype only date from the last 2,000 years or so. (This is a problem in Alaska, where domesticated reindeer were introduced in the 1800s, and some have gone feral and are blending the local sub-species of caribou.)

      • Cloveoil says:

        I meant domestic reindeer ofc.

        Its always been a problem in the study of circumpolar cultures, which really do converge in many ways as a gigantic areal region.

        • Janet says:

          I’m still not clear what the “mystery” is. Reindeer were first domesticated very gradually, and only about 2,000 years ago, east of the Urals. The practice spread west very slowly– hardly a surprise, since the population densities are so low, and human conditions were so capricious and violent. Reindeer herding only reached the Pacific in the last few centuries, and even now, it remains much less intensive in eastern Siberia than west of the Urals (e.g., Sami herds are several hundred to a few thousand animals, whereas in eastern Siberia a family might have 10-20, but also hunt other animals extensively).

          They never crossed either the Bering Strait or the North Sea (to Iceland and Greenland) until the invention of modern transportation systems– after all, you can’t put a reindeer herd on a kayak and cross the ocean. Likewise, to transfer the know-how of herding, you either need multi-generational exposure to oral tradition, or some means of writing and formally educating people (and, arguably, centralized control of the land, to prevent raiding, theft/poaching, and such like). Ditto for the ancillary tech that makes reindeer herding very profitable (e.g. sleds, techniques for making cheese from reindeer milk, how to ride astride reindeer, etc.) That all happened in a hurry in the 1800s, and people took immediate advantage of it. Reindeer are herded in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland from pretty much as soon as reindeer could be brought there, and from when the knowledge of how to herd them could be written down and taken there.

          So again, I don’t see what the mystery is. This looks like a completely ordinary case of diffusion of a civilizational advance to me– no stranger than, say, the spread of chicken farming out of its home range of southeast/south Asia.

          • Cloveoil says:

            It is diffusion, the matter is the selective ‘Eskimo wedge’ between Siberia and Alaska.

            Alaskan masking and artistic traditions remained strong south of Bering Strait where reindeer-herding and whaling with large communal crews was not practiced, whereas masking and mask-like petroglyphic art appear to have declined or disappeared in northeast Asia following these innovations.

            Horses and rice would not have been useful to Alaskans, but dog sledges were immediately imported from Siberia about the same time that military hardware like bows and armor appeared, ca. A.D. 500-700. On the other hand, knowledge ofbronze and iron production techniques that had become well-established elsewhere in Northeast Asia 2000 years ago never reached Alaska, even though its people knew and desired these materials.

  8. Cloveoil says:

    You reminded me to dig this up:

    Though most info on horse survival seems tainted by LDS and native rights assumptions, rather than objective science, there is stuff in old sources about native folklore and native breeds/races of horse.

    In the OW medieval period there was a crossing of the Asian War Complex through North America: was this accompanied by people? And horses? Why did Plains Indians burials closely parallel Central Asian ones?

    There is a definite late connection to Asia as far as Dene go:

    • Toddy Cat says:

      Yeah, some things may be true, even though Indians and Mormons say them…

      • Cloveoil says:

        Aye but there are archaeological, ethnological and linguistic parallels, si? Contacts between the North Pacific were much more complicated than allowed for by even the three-wave model. The most obvious example is the Dene-Yenisean hypothesis based initially upon linguistics, then supported with mythographic and ethnographic data. Historically the most debate about such matters was about the Chukchi backmigration to Asia, which does have genetic support now.

        Against all this you have to wonder why domesticates used in Siberia didn’t cross to Alaska. Usually this centred upon reindeer moreso than horses, but you would also think horses would’ve crossed before the Russians. For context there were established trade contacts across the North Pacific, so much that New World Arctic and Subarctic people were using iron tools from Asia as hunter gatherers elsewhere entered a ‘lazy’ iron age.

    • jimeo722 says:

      Looks like Greg put this pitch right in your wheelhouse.

      • Cloveoil says:

        I’m not sure I get the turn of phrase.

        “A sticky resinous black or dark brown substance that is semi-liquid when hot and hardens when cold, obtained by distilling tar or turpentine and used for waterproofing.” … or “A form of words used when trying to persuade someone to buy or accept something.” … and “A part of a boat or ship serving as a shelter for the person at the wheel.”

        • “Pitch” in this case refers to a musical tone. Due the acoustic properties of small enclosures, some tones are more audible in a wheelhouse than others, particularly when the ship is pitching, or rotation of the ship around the abeam or transverse axis, and most especially when the rotation exceeds 90° (F).

          This shouldn’t be confused with “a pitch right over the plate”, which refers to an unwelcome request to erect a tent during meal times.

        • dearieme says:

          The “pitch” referred to is a golf shot. He’s suggesting that our blogger is such a rotten golfer that one of his shots has missed the green and ended up aboard your vessel. Figuratively.

          • Cloveoil says:

            I didn’t know. Sorry I took over the thread, hope there is info or at least ‘leads’ in it.

            It would be nice to know if any modern horses really do have genes from relicts, this would be easier to test in South America because the local caballines were more distinct.

  9. pyrrhus says:

    This is a very cool story…but it’s funny how much mixing there is in nature. One of my neighbors in Southern Arizona has a dog that looks quite a lot like a coyote…That’s no accident, as it turns out.

  10. pyrrhus says:

    I have a GoFundMe type project for Greg, which could be done as a stand alone or a review. A concise and up to date analysis of the effects of the Columbian exchange on biodiversity in the Americas…I would contribute.

  11. MEH 0910 says:

    “and griffins are all well represented in the fossil record.”

  12. Smithie says:

    I’ve never understood why horses became extinct in NA in ancient times, but bison seemed to have done very well, until more modern times. They seem to be able to live together in the same habitat, at least when they are managed. And I imagine that ancient NA horses were faster than bison. It is quite hard for me to believe that none would have been frightened by people, since there were other native large predators. Harder to give a bison a killing blow? I suppose so.

    • Cloveoil says:

      Generally hindgut fermenters such as equines are hit harder by mass extictions than are foregut fermenters such as bovids. Overkill my ass.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Of course those extinctions were driven by human hunting. And a major species of bison went extinct.

        • Janet says:

          Speaking for east of the Mississippi, the local Indian tribes were semi-sorta managing the bison herds– for example, they would selectively burn off woodlands, to ensure that there were enough open grass meadows to keep bison herds fed and happy. Not exactly domesticated, but managed and “owned” by a particular tribe for seasonal culling. When Europeans arrived, there were bison as far east as Virginia– this is unthinkable now, as the forest has entirely reclaimed the meadows… as it will do, absent continued human effort. And as you would expect, the eastern bison started evolving into a separate sub-species in response– becoming stockier (=meatier), less willing to roam, less aggressive, less afraid of humans, etc. All of this led to their rapid demise in the east, of course: habitat loss once the Indians weren’t around to maintain the grasslands (and to keep outsiders from killing them indiscriminately), lower instincts to run away or migrate west, exposure to domesticated cattle diseases, and significantly more hunting pressure from Europeans.

      • Smithie says:

        Horses can eat shorter grass.

        • Cloveoil says:

          The end of the Pleistocene saw New World horses die off, at least one sp of Equus die in Africa, and a wild ass went extinct in the Holocene of Europe after range fragmantation – the same pattern as mammoths. This is a significant % of the horse family went extinct, at the same time as numerous mammoths, glyptodonts and all the like.

          Is this to do with the foregut/hindgut thing? Maybe but sloths and camelids goet hit. Its true some ruminants died out completely or they were hit hard like musk oxen, but even if you exclude Africa and the warmer parts of Asia, you see they were relatively unscathed. Mmm…

          • TB says:

            I’d suggest a change in predators. Once big predators, lions, sabertooth, cave bears, dire wolves died off, these were replaced by wolves, coyotes and cougars. Big predators eat big prey, leaving alone smaller, faster species as too much trouble to catch. But horse babies are just the right size for wolves and cougars, and in range of coyotes. And wolves and cougars can, at need, kill adult horses. So with the top predators suddenly all (including people) just right sized to prey on horses and their young…

  13. Jacob says:

    That’s awesome. Reminds me of the dog breeds having partial American descent.

    I wonder if introgression of the right American wild horse allele might produce a desirable phenotype…

  14. David Chamberlin says:

    Once dismissed as a forgery by art experts who didn’t know how to analyze the age of an object this carved head appears to be the real deal. Found in 1890 it was long dismissed as a forgery, in part because the guy looks so Neanderthal. Someone screwed around with it by cleaning it and recarving the eyes so it is a bit suspect but still it is mineralized in a way that makes it 26,000 years old. It wasn’t found on a site by reputable experts so we can never be certain but the first human likeness sure as hell looks like he’s a healthy percentage neanderthal.

    • David Chamberlin says:

      Not the first human likeness, but earlier ones are really crude, this one is made by a real artist who could accurately carve the proportions of a person’s face.

      • Cloveoil says:

        It might just be stylisation though. Dolni Vestonice is Gravettan, and the Gravettian has traditionally been seen as owing more to the transitional UP (semi-neanderthal?) than did the Aurignacian. Sadly aDNA doesn’t prop this up, though…

        • David Chamberlin says:

          Cochran makes a pretty interesting prediction, that can be confirmed down the road when we look further at horse DNA. That there was a surviving population of horses left in North America that wild horses released by the new arrivers mixed with. He’s been right before on these long shot guesses. He predicted archaic hominids would have evolved better mutations for coping with living at higher elevations than the later arriving modern humans would have been able to and lo and behold it was then discovered that Tibetans had picked up a mutation from Denisovans that allowed them to thrive in the Himalayas.

          That ivory male head can’t be fake. Not when the minerals in the cracks after it was carved are dated to 26,000 BC. I also argue that it highly unlikely that it was coincidentally stylized back in 1890 to strongly bear at least three Neanderthal characteristics, a Neanderthal skull shape, Neanderthal brow ridge, and a Neanderthal metamorphic build. Far more likely is a talented artist carved an accurate depiction of someone who lived 28,000 years ago. I will make a prediction of my own. Down the road there will be genetic confirmation that people that lived in this area at this time were a surprising high percentage Neanderthal.

          • Cloveoil says:

            I’m saying I’d predict that: just that the aDNA doesn’t yet match. The dead-end Gravettian (as a tradition it includes Solutrean) seems to come right from the incipient UP industries, merging with the Aurignacian tradition to produce the Magdalenian. As of yet its unknown who the incipient UP toolmakers were but the zeitgeist is to assume that acculturated neanderthals did most/all of ’em, maybe made possible by H. saps admixture.

            The Oase people were not directly associated with lithics but their non-European genetic profile complicates the history of Paleolithic Europe. Usually they are assumed to be Bohunician toolmakers, the Bohunician being related to the Emirian and the Dabban round the eastern Med. Very limited aDNA from the Chatelperronian is consistent with a neanderthal identity but also with modern humans possessing neanderthal mixture, and indeed some people living today. Although the Chatelperronian is often considered as straightforwardly late neanderthal, it is contemparaneous with and distinct from late Mousterian survivals and includes ornaments made by the same technique employed in the production of Aurignacian equivalents, suggesting a regional production tradition that excluded the last full-blooded neanderthals. The Chatelperronian is related to the Uluzzian, and similar backed points are present at Klisoura very early suggesting a wave of H. saps migrants entering Europe.

            The cultures with leaf points as well as the Gorodsovian seem to have their source in the neanderthal Micoquian. The recent dating of the level with arched backed points in the Klisoura Cave (layer V) to about 40 kyr BP suggests that these industries could be locally, older than the Proto-Aurignacian and contemporaneous with the Ahmarian in the Near East.

            • David Chamberlin says:

              Another prediction follows these and the world isn’t ready for it. That the first artistically realistic sculpture of a human head just happens to be that of a anatomically modern human and a Neanderthal hybrid isn’t a coincidence. It certainly could be but maybe it isn’t. The proper mix of our combined genes made us smarter.

              There is no genetic evidence to support this at this point. Furthermore it would be career suicide to even suggest it so there won’t be for a long time even if people find it. However a small population of intermixed modern humans and Neanderthals just so happened to get a lot more creative in their stone tool technology and virtually take over the entire world right about the time they intermixed. Neanderthals had to have their own mutations that benefited their intelligence and it would seem quite possible that anatomically modern humans used at least some of them. I contend this would be greeted as a logical possibility if Sub Saharan Africans had the same Neanderthal mixture as the rest of the world. But since they do not this is a racist idea and I should STFU. That is how science works at this time on this subject.

              • Cloveoil says:

                I don’t know: the Andamnese don’t have iconographic art, but can produce such in imitation of Europeans. Its like the underlying cognition is universally there but the behaviour isn’t. Bracketing makes it equivocal as to the abilities of un-admixed neanderthals, we just know its unique to hominins and only demonstrated in Homo sapiens.

              • David Chamberlin says:

                yeah, i don’t know either

            • Cloveoil says:

              Edit: the last paragraph is a bit botched based on bad copypasta from my own notes. Klisoura Cave layer V is related to the Uluzzian + Chatelperronian, which I see as H. saps traditions coming in through Greece, though there was surely species/racial mixing along the frontier.

              It is other transitional UP industries are of more definite neander origins, and in turn influenced Gravettian. Due to sparse aDNA the picture is incomplete: the Tianyuan-like admixture in Goyet proves Otte right that a proper Aurignacian came to Europe from Central Asia, though its own roots (further back) were Levantine. Common similarities between Aurignacian crania and Iberomaurusians as sampled at Taforalt, show what the earliest ‘white’ or ‘Caucasian’ people resembled before local evolutionary processes.

          • JerryC says:

            I also argue that it highly unlikely that it was coincidentally stylized back in 1890 to strongly bear at least three Neanderthal characteristics, a Neanderthal skull shape, Neanderthal brow ridge, and a Neanderthal metamorphic build. Far more likely is a talented artist carved an accurate depiction of someone who lived 28,000 years ago.

            There wouldn’t have to have been any coincidences. People in the late 19th century were fascinated by Neanderthals and knew what they looked like from skull reconstructions and such.

            I still think a 19th century forgery is a lot more likely than Neanderthals or Neanderthal-Cro Magnon hybrids creating something like that. A thoughtful forger would have made some provision for simulated weathering. Stylistically, the bust is so close to 19th century European portraiture that it defies belief.

            • Cloveoil says:

              It reminds me of a supposed Magdalenian/Isturitz neanderthal I’ve seen cited by the cryptozoologists/hominologists. Research into this stuff turns up blank, but if its genuine it could be mere stylisation.

            • David Chamberlin says:

              Good points. I would say it’s a forgery too except for the dating of the mineralization in the cracks. I don’t profess to be an expert on the authenticity of this piece, you could be right.

            • David Chamberlin says:

              More important than my idle speculation which shall likely never be proven one way or the other is a far more detailed analysis of the genetics of the earliest inhabitants of Europe. Surprises are in store and who knows what they will be. Sometimes long shot predictions can be useful if they lead to productive research that either confirms or negates the hypothesis. Hopefully someone will follow up the Cochran prediction on horses and look more closely at the horse DNA of those wild horse populations that have an anomalous genetic diversity. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were populations surviving 28,000 years ago that had a much higher percentage Neanderthal and looked very archaic in our eyes.

              • Cloveoil says:

                There’s no Aterian yet: though that would be useful for understanding the pop history of both the Euro-Med area and Africa at the same time. There’s no Solutrean either, and only a limited bit of aDNA from Chatelperronian is firmly associated to European toolmakers.

                1) Oase is from a separate and failed colonisation (Emiro-Bohunician?)
                2) Aurignacian is West Eurasian in a genetic sense
                3) Gravettian and related Kostenki 14 are also West Eurasian in a genetic sense
                4) (Epi-)Gravettian + Aurignacian recombine into Magdalenian
                5) WHG/Azilian has Basal Eurasian and CHG-like (how?)

                Then if you think about it, sampling from the non-European range of Western Eurasians is even worse for the pre-Neolithicum, and thats why Mesolithicisation is a mystery. There is nothing from India, or the pre-Natufian Levant; there is no Caspian nor Aterian; CHG is sampled. Its very sparse isn’t it? Neolithic Iranians and Anatolians help fill the picture by representing their ancestors; but its still incomplete despite the pivotal-ness of West Asia in understanding Europe and Eurasia as a whole.

  15. Citizen AllenM says:

    Ok Greg, here is your refugia-

    Fits most of your criteria, right down to difficult to get to area not rich enough in game for much Native American hunting and living. (on the edge of the Great Basin)…

    I would bet on asking the Shoshone, since they seem to claim the first knowledge of the horse in the area.

    • Cloveoil says:

      That implies Nat Ams were somehow more efficient at hunting horses than were Eurasian hunter gatherers. I don’t see any reason for that – even with bison/buffalo, they just rode up and fired an arrow at point blank. They were less efficient than Eurasian horse hunters and human pops in steppeland, without pastoralism, happen to be sparse on the ground.

      Prairie Indians were hunters and fishers without domestic animals but with some agriculture. That they lacked markers of social complexity such as slavery indicates that before acquiring agriculture they must’ve been less of an impact still.

      Plains Indians are hunters and fishers with horses: only when they acquired horses, the Indians of the Plains became able to follow the buffalo herds year-round, in a near-pastoral
      relationship-thereby growing wealthy, increasing in population, developing powerful confederacies, and drawing into this neighbouring tribes.

      I don’t think human predation can explain horse extinction in the Nearctic if it didn’t in the Palaearctic.

      • TWS says:

        It implies horses that had evolved entirely desperately from human predation had no defenses to suddenly introduced hunters. Horses in the old world had already run the gauntlet of people from Beringia to Iberia.

        New world horses had the world’s biggest and longest barbeque drop on them all at once. According to ancient yelp reviews, horse was extremely tasty.

        • Cloveoil says:

          Horses got to North America 1.5-1 kya: they were accustomed to large hominins. and if they weren’t they were smart enough to learn. In any case the presence of other predators ought to have been enough, elsewhere in the world it is less the presence of humans than the introduction of new tech (esp. firearms) that causes damage. If really we are asking if the atlatl was a superweapon: it wasn’t, because it did no ecological damage in Solutrean Europe.

          Anthropogenic extinction might be predicted only if their life histories were radically divergent compared to regular horses: which they weren’t. And Prairie/Plains Indians – as I said – weren’t that great at hunting before the European horse was introduced. Continental ecosystems aren’t islands like Hawaii,

          • gcochran9 says:

            “Horses got to North America 1.5-1 kya”. ? Horses evolved in North America.

          • TWS says:

            Your history is wrong, your understanding of human hunting ability and techniques are wrong, your knowledge of native Americans is so wrong I don’t know where to start.

            Horses evolved in the new world and headed out across the land bridge getting used to humans in the process. Those that remained in the new world didn’t meet humans for tens of thousands of years.

            They were entirely unused to human systematic hunting which landed on them like a ton of bricks.

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