Mar 5, 2009
It's pretty hard to milk a wild mare. So researchers attempting to determine whether ancient Botai in northern Kazakhstan had domesticated horses tested their pottery for evidence that they were as fond as their modern descendants of mare's milk (you can see [left] a modern mare being milked by a Kazakh woman). Their finding, published today in Science: they were—pushing horse domestication to at least 5,500 years ago.
Archaeologist Alan Outram of the University of Exeter in England and his colleagues tested Botai cooking vessels and found clear evidence of mare's milk in nine of them. This constitutes strong proof of domestication, according to geochemist Rosemary Capo of the University of Pittsburgh, who analyzed samples from another Botai site known as Krasnyi Yar, because wild horses don't typically tolerate milking.
Nov 17, 2008 | 2
National Forest Service rangers in New Mexico's Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory (part of the Carson National Forest, near the Colorado border) are expecting some high-tech help to aid their efforts to capture and relocate the growing number of wild horses overpopulating the area and threatening to cut off the food supply. Sandia National Laboratories researchers Casey Giron and Josh Jacob are designing a sensor system that can better detect the location of wild horses so they can be more easily trapped and relocated.
Although Jicarilla has enough grass and foliage to feed as many as 105 horses, according to a 2004 National Forest Service assessment, more than 425 of the animals are crowded into the territory and have thinned out the food supply. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Forest Service routinely round up wild horses in overpopulated areas and offer them up for adoption to prevent them from starving. This fall they plan to relocate 93 horses from Carson National Forest.
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