For thousands of years, horses have played critical roles in human societies around the world. These equines helped early farmers plow their fields, transported people farther and faster, and gave warriors a competitive edge in battle. But experts have long puzzled over the deceptively simple question of where domestic horses actually came from.
It took a two-continent collaboration among over a hundred scientists to home in on the answer: southern Russia.
The discovery provides strong evidence that of three main locations in contention—Anatolia, Iberia, and western Eurasian steppes—the last is likely the birthplace of modern domestic horses, Equus caballus.