Med. Weter. 80 (2), 58-62, 2024

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Rethinking Horse Domestication in North America: New Insights through
The evolving research methods and tools, along with the archived historical data, shed new light on the domestication process and origin of horses in North America. According to previous theories, horses became extinct in that region, and their current presence could only be attributed to the colonization by conquistadors. Contrary to these speculations, genetic data, primarily from well-preserved dental and jaw structures, indicate that the evolution of horses was of a polyphyletic nature. Traditional oral accounts, which challenge reports from the first European settlers, are now carefully analysed. This article is a synthetic analysis of literature concerning the domestication process of horses. It suggests that the thesis about the reintroduction of horses to both Americas may be flawed and needs revision. It presents a completely new picture of the direction of equid migration, beyond the already known overland route through the Land Bridge of Beringia. Additionally, it reveals possible new human-horse relationships associated with the domestication and expansion of only certain lineages of this species. This opens the possibility of a new interpretation of historical data and suggests new research areas.
Keywords: archaeozoology, horse domestication, hippology, natural history