Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding the horse in the Americas and how it was claimed to have been extinct during Jaredite and Nephite times.
Eqquus ferus looked similar to the wild Asiatic horse which had a reddish-brown bodyh with a black upright mane and black tail and legs

Despite a great deal of variability in the size of the Pleistocene equids from differing locations (mostly ecomorphotypes), a study conducted at the Ancient Biomolecules Centre of Oxford University shows that the DNA evidence strongly suggests that all of the large and small caballine samples belonged to the same species. The author states, “The presence of a morphologically variable caballine species widely distributed both north and south of the North American ice sheets raises the tantalizing possibility that, in spite of many taxa named on morphological grounds, most or even all Americas caballines were members of the same species” (emphasis added; Jaco Weinstock, et al, “Evolution Systematics, and Phylogeography of Pleistocene Horses in the New World,” PLOS research article, 2005).
    The work of Michael Hofreiter examining the genetics of the so‐called E. lambei from the permafrost of Alaska, found that the variation was within that of modern horses, which translates into E. lambei actually being E. caballus, genetically (M. Hofreiter, M., Serre, D. Poinar, H.N. Kuch, M., Pääbo, S., Ancient DNA. Nature Reviews Genetics. 2(5), 2001, pp353-359). Thus, as Hofreiter adds, “the molecular biology evidence is incontrovertible and indisputable, and is also supported by the interpretation of the fossil record, as well.”
    More recent work (Ludovic Orlando et al., “Revising the recent evolutionary history of equids using ancient DNA,” Paleogenetics and Molecular Evolution, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, National Science Foundation, 2009) that examined the evolutionary history of a variety of non-caballine equids across four continents, found evidence for taxonomic “oversplitting” from species to generic levels.
Australian Center for Ancient DNA (ACAD), University of Adelaide, Australia, which does research on DNA in Australia and across the Southern Hemisphere

This oversplitting was based primarily on late-Pleistocene fossil remains without the benefit of molecular data. A co-author of this study, Dr. Alan Cooper, of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, stated, “Overall, the new genetic results suggest that we have underestimated how much a single species can vary over time and space, and mistakenly assumed more diversity among extinct species of megafauna.”
    Work of this nature even confirms the similar social organization of those early horses, and reveals that E. caballus originated from very few males and many females, a pattern consistent with the species’ social organization today (N.C. Lau et al., Abundant primary piRNAs, endo-siRNAs, and microRNAs in a Drosphila ovary cell line, Genome Res, 2009).
    According to Kirkpatrick,"the fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced matters little from a biological viewpoint. They are the same species that originated here. As has been pointed out, the key element in describing an animal as a native species is (1) where it originated; and (2) whether or not it co‐evolved with its habitat. Clearly, E. caballus did both, here in the Americas. There might be arguments about “breeds,” but there are no scientific grounds for arguments about “species.”
"The non‐native, feral, and exotic designations given by agencies are not merely reflections of their failure to understand modern science but also a reflection of their desire to preserve old ways of thinking to keep alive the conflict between a species (wild horses), with no economic value anymore (by law), and the economic value of commercial livestock"
As an example, a few years ago a helicopter friend flew a BLM contingent up onto a mountainous area in Southern Utah to get rid of a large herd that couldn’t be driven off the mountain. They did not belong there, were not indigenous to the area though they had been there for a number of years. The BLM group went up and shot them all because they were not “natural” to the area.
    Native status for wild horses would place these animals, under law, within a new category for management considerations. As a form of wildlife, embedded with wildness, ancient behavioral patterns, and the morphology and biology of a sensitive prey species, they may finally be released from the “livestock‐gone‐loose” appellation (J. F. Kirkpatrick, Revised May 2010. Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife. The Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings)
    Another example of horse classification is Ann Forstén’s (Zoological Institute at the University of Helsinki) analysis of E. lambei, the Yukon horse, which was the most recent Equus species in North America prior to the horse's disappearance from the continent. Her examination of E. lambei mtDNA (preserved in the Alaskan permafrost) has revealed that the species is genetically equivalent to E. caballus. That conclusion has been further supported by Michael Hofreiter, of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who has found that the variation fell within that of modern horses.
Thus, the wild horse in the United States is generally labeled non-native by most federal and state agencies dealing with wildlife management, but the two key elements for defining an animal as a native species are where it originated and whether or not it coevolved with its habitat. E. caballus can lay claim to doing both in North America. Thus, it cannot be said that the American horse became extinct, but continued on through the centuries. What happened to it, why the native cultures did not use the animal as later native Americans did, is unknown, or in fact, not known that they did not use the horse. We do know from the Book of Mormon that it was in the Land of Promise, thus in South America—an area so large, most has still not yet been discovered, whether or not such animals existed when the Spanish arrived will never be known.
    As time has passed since the original concept that all horses disappeared from the Americas by 12,000 B.C. or so, new scientific discoveries, according to author Terry McNamee, kept pushing the supposed date of extinction of America's horses closer to the present day. Now it seems clear that there probably was no such extinction at all (The survival of Horses in Pre-Columbian America, 2013).
    Recent DNA analysis of a frozen Yukon Horse carcass found in the Alaskan permafrost in 2009 showed that horses were still living in North America as recently as 7,600 years ago (5600 BC), according to researcher Ross MacPhee, the American Museum of Natural History's Curator of Mammology.
    According to Terry McNamee in The Survival of Hores in Pre-Columbian America, “The idea that horses could have survived into more recent times in areas south of Alaska and the Yukon was suggested 40 years ago by archaeologist Paul S. Martin, a former anthropologist and archaeologist and lifelong associate of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, specializing in pre-Columbian cultures of the southwestern U.S. He said that there was no reason why horses could not have survived in isolated areas of North America as late as 2000 B.C. (Paul S. Martin, "The Discovery of America," Science 179, 1973). But more recent discoveries are revealing that horses may have been present in North America much longer, even right up to the time when Europeans “reintroduced” horses to the Americas.
(See the next post, “Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part IV,” for more information about the horse in the Americas when it was claimed to have been extinct and the fascinating breed called the Curly Horse found in both North and South America)


  1. One thing to keep in mind is Noah's flood created the fossil record. It was a catastrophic event. Fossil Creation is very difficult without special conditions.

    As an example lions are mentioned anciently in the land of Israel. Until only about 30 years ago no fossils were found confirming their existence. As a result most scholars before the finding if the fossils did not believe there were any lions there at all.

    So this makes good sense that there really wasn't an extinction of the horse in America.

  2. Exactly. The entire strata change of the entire Earth during the Flood was of such a drastic nature that it engulfed the entire biosphere and produced suddenly most of the fossil record including almost the entire present fossil fuel inventory. This Flood that came down from "the north countries" clearly recorded in its history "written in the rocks" that was triggered by fluid-greased and glacier-driven avalanching ice sheets, mountain and sedimentary strata overthrusts, and caused a sudden change in the whole sedimentary structure of the earth, burying suddenly the entire biosphere. It is sad that fossilization has hot been accepted by geologists as a result of the Flood, but once the evolutionists took over, it had no chance of being so understood.

  3. It is so enriching to understand the truth about the age of the earth, the timing and impact of the flood-the errors of carbon dating, etc. thanks for your work Del. Absolutely loved all your books especially learning details about the flood, the Jaredites, scientific fallacies, etc.

  4. David: Thank you for your comment.