Analysis of 273 ancient horse genomes reveals that modern domestic horses originated in the Western Eurasian steppes, especially the lower Volga-Don region.Domestication of horses fundamentally transformed long-range mobility and warfare(1). However, modern domesticated breeds do not descend from the earliest domestic horse lineage associated with archaeological evidence of bridling, milking and corralling(2-4) at Botai, Central Asia around 3500 bc(3). Other longstanding candidate regions for horse domestication, such as Iberia(5) and Anatolia(6), have also recently been challenged. Thus, the genetic, geographic and temporal origins of modern domestic horses have remained unknown. Here we pinpoint the Western Eurasian steppes, especially the lower Volga-Don region, as the homeland of modern domestic horses. Furthermore, we map the population changes accompanying domestication from 273 ancient horse genomes. This reveals that modern domestic horses ultimately replaced almost all other local populations as they expanded rapidly across Eurasia from about 2000 bc, synchronously with equestrian material culture, including Sintashta spoke-wheeled chariots. We find that equestrianism involved strong selection for critical locomotor and behavioural adaptations at the GSDMC and ZFPM1 genes. Our results reject the commonly held association(7) between horseback riding and the massive expansion of Yamnaya steppe pastoralists into Europe around 3000 bc(8,9) driving the spread of Indo-European languages(10). This contrasts with the scenario in Asia where Indo-Iranian languages, chariots and horses spread together, following the early second millennium bc Sintashta culture(11,12).

The origins and spread of domestic horses from the Western Eurasian steppes / P. Librado, N. Khan, A. Fages, M.A. Kusliy, T. Suchan, L. Tonasso-Calviere, S. Schiavinato, D. Alioglu, A. Fromentier, A. Perdereau, J.-. Aury, C. Gaunitz, L. Chauvey, A. Seguin-Orlando, C. Der Sarkissian, J. Southon, B. Shapiro, A.A. Tishkin, A.A. Kovalev, S. Alquraishi, A.H. Alfarhan, K.A.S. Al-Rasheid, T. Seregely, L. Klassen, R. Iversen, O. Bignon-Lau, P. Bodu, M. Olive, J.-. Castel, M. Boudadi-Maligne, N. Alvarez, M. Germonpre, M. Moskal-del Hoyo, J. Wilczynski, S. Pospula, A. Lasota-Kus, K. Tunia, M. Nowak, E. Rannamae, U. Saarma, G. Boeskorov, L. Lougas, R. Kysely, L. Peske, A. Balasescu, V. Dumitrascu, R. Dobrescu, D. Gerber, V. Kiss, A. Szecsenyi-Nagy, B.G. Mende, Z. Gallina, K. Somogyi, G. Kulcsar, E. Gal, R. Bendrey, M.E. Allentoft, G. Sirbu, V. Dergachev, H. Shephard, N. Tomadini, S. Grouard, A. Kasparov, A.E. Basilyan, M.A. Anisimov, P.A. Nikolskiy, E.Y. Pavlova, V. Pitulko, G. Brem, B. Wallner, C. Schwall, M. Keller, K. Kitagawa, A.N. Bessudnov, A. Bessudnov, W. Taylor, J. Magail, J.-. Gantulga, J. Bayarsaikhan, D. Erdenebaatar, K. Tabaldiev, E. Mijiddorj, B. Boldgiv, T. Tsagaan, M. Pruvost, S. Olsen, C.A. Makarewicz, S. Valenzuela Lamas, S. Albizuri Canadell, A. Nieto Espinet, M.P. Iborra, J. Lira Garrido, E. Rodriguez Gonzalez, S. Celestino, C. Olaria, J.L. Arsuaga, N. Kotova, A. Pryor, P. Crabtree, R. Zhumatayev, A. Toleubaev, N.L. Morgunova, T. Kuznetsova, D. Lordkipanize, M. Marzullo, O. Prato, G. Bagnasco Gianni, U. Tecchiati, B. Clavel, S. Lepetz, H. Davoudi, M. Mashkour, N.Y. Berezina, P.W. Stockhammer, J. Krause, W. Haak, A. Morales-Muniz, N. Benecke, M. Hofreiter, A. Ludwig, A.S. Graphodatsky, J. Peters, K.Y. Kiryushin, T.-. Iderkhangai, N.A. Bokovenko, S.K. Vasiliev, N.N. Seregin, K.V. Chugunov, N.A. Plasteeva, G.F. Baryshnikov, E. Petrova, M. Sablin, E. Ananyevskaya, A. Logvin, I. Shevnina, V. Logvin, S. Kalieva, V. Loman, I. Kukushkin, I. Merz, V. Merz, S. Sakenov, V. Varfolomeyev, E. Usmanova, V. Zaibert, B. Arbuckle, A.B. Belinskiy, A. Kalmykov, S. Reinhold, S. Hansen, A.I. Yudin, A.A. Vybornov, A. Epimakhov, N.S. Berezina, N. Roslyakova, P.A. Kosintsev, P.F. Kuznetsov, D. Anthony, G.J. Kroonen, K. Kristiansen, P. Wincker, A. Outram, L. Orlando. - In: NATURE. - ISSN 1476-4687. - 598:7882(2021), pp. 634-640. [10.1038/s41586-021-04018-9]

The origins and spread of domestic horses from the Western Eurasian steppes

M. Marzullo;G. Bagnasco Gianni;U. Tecchiati
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2021

Abstract

Analysis of 273 ancient horse genomes reveals that modern domestic horses originated in the Western Eurasian steppes, especially the lower Volga-Don region.Domestication of horses fundamentally transformed long-range mobility and warfare(1). However, modern domesticated breeds do not descend from the earliest domestic horse lineage associated with archaeological evidence of bridling, milking and corralling(2-4) at Botai, Central Asia around 3500 bc(3). Other longstanding candidate regions for horse domestication, such as Iberia(5) and Anatolia(6), have also recently been challenged. Thus, the genetic, geographic and temporal origins of modern domestic horses have remained unknown. Here we pinpoint the Western Eurasian steppes, especially the lower Volga-Don region, as the homeland of modern domestic horses. Furthermore, we map the population changes accompanying domestication from 273 ancient horse genomes. This reveals that modern domestic horses ultimately replaced almost all other local populations as they expanded rapidly across Eurasia from about 2000 bc, synchronously with equestrian material culture, including Sintashta spoke-wheeled chariots. We find that equestrianism involved strong selection for critical locomotor and behavioural adaptations at the GSDMC and ZFPM1 genes. Our results reject the commonly held association(7) between horseback riding and the massive expansion of Yamnaya steppe pastoralists into Europe around 3000 bc(8,9) driving the spread of Indo-European languages(10). This contrasts with the scenario in Asia where Indo-Iranian languages, chariots and horses spread together, following the early second millennium bc Sintashta culture(11,12).
Animals; Archaeology; Asia; DNA, Ancient; Europe; Genome; Grassland; Phylogeny; Domestication; Genetics, Population; Horses
Settore L-ANT/01 - Preistoria e Protostoria
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
Article (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
The_origins_and_spread_of_domestic_horses_from_the_compressed (1).pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 1.39 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.39 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/944010
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 20
  • Scopus 46
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 38
social impact