World’s Oldest Genome Sequenced From 700,000-Year-Old Horse DNA

26 06 2013



World’s Oldest Genome Sequenced From 700,000-Year-Old Horse DNA

Samples from a horse leg bone more than 700,000 years old have yielded the oldest full genome known to date.

The ancient horse genome also allowed the team to determine the evolutionary relationship between modern domestic horses and the endangered Przewalski’s horse, a native to the Mongolian steppes that represents the last living breed of wild horse.

The team found that Przewalski’s horses were an offshoot of the lineage that gave rise to domestic horses. The two groups diverged around 50,000 years ago.

More at NatGeo:


The Morgan Mile

28 08 2007

The Girls!, originally uploaded by poe_kayla.

From last year’s press release:

For the second year in a row the Morgan Mile Road Race created history as Morgan Horses were started from “scratch” and raced eighty rods down the same road that Justin Morgan did over two hundred years ago. More than one hundred spectators lined the Morgan Mile in Brookfield, Vermont as twelve Morgan horses raced in an official race sponsored by the Vermont Morgan Horse Association. Modern-day registered Morgans trotted down the historic Morgan Mile Road where the famous Morgan horse named Figure and later called Justin Morgan or the Morgan Horse raced down this old Vermont road. He was raced against two New York running horses in 1796, defeating both easily. That stretch of road is known as the “Morgan Mile” to this day and is located close to the place Justin Morgan is said to have lived.

The next race will be held September 15th on the Morgan Mile Road in Brookfield Vermont. More info:

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The Palio di Siena

17 08 2007

The Palio

This year’s running of the Palio horse race in Siena, Italy left viewers stirred but not shaken (sorry, I had to) as film crews captured the event for the next Bond movie:

[T]o the relief of the Siena authorities, the huge crowd and – presumably – the film producers, all horses and jockeys survived the dangerous bareback race.

Several jockeys were unseated as horses crashed into the wall at the notoriously tight San Martino bend, falling beneath the pounding hooves of their rivals. Miraculously none was hurt.

Instead, with Daniel Craig watching from a window high above the Campo, the square where the Palio is run on packed sand, Siena put on a classic show of colourful pageantry and excitement to a background of medieval drums and flags. Link

From Wikipedia: “The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as the Palio), the most famous palio in Italy, is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, in which the horse and rider represent one of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.” Is this the world’s longest-running horse race?

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Asia Secunda Pars Terrae in Forma Pegasir

17 08 2007

Asia in the shape of Pegasus

I found this 16th-century map of Asia reimagined in the shape of Pegasus over at strangemaps, one of the world’s truly fantastic blogs. Click here for the whole story.

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What would *you* pick as the greatest finish?

16 08 2007

Red Rum at Castle Park, Bristol 1980, originally uploaded by Floyd Nello.

The online betting shop Blue Square has picked Red Rum’s 1973 Grand National win as #6 in their top ten list of the greatest sporting finishes:

The 1973 Grand National is probably the most replayed horse race in television history. Few who tuned in on the last Saturday in March will ever forget the race – it was pure sporting drama, played out over four and a half miles, over thirty formidable fences. Top class chaser Crisp carried top weight in the 1973 Grand National, and his bold jumping, front-running style ensured the ex-Australian star was well clear of his field for most of the race leading horse betting punters who had backed him thinking they had made a wise sport bet. Legendary race commentator Peter O’Sullevan took up the microphone as the leaders turned for home…

“Crisp is still well clear in the 1973 Grand National and this great Australian chaser Crisp with twelve stone on his back and ten stone five on the back of Red Rum, who’s chasing him and they look to have it absolutely to themselves. At the second last… Crisp is over. And clear of Red Rum who’s jumping it a long way back. In third is Spanish Steps then Hurricane Rock and Rouge Autumn and L’Escargot. But coming to the final fence in the National now… and it’s Crisp still going in great style. He jumps it well, Red Rum is about fifteen lengths behind him as he jumps it. Crisp is coming to the elbow he’s got two hundred and fifty yards to run.” Then, suddenly things changed…

“Crisp is just wandering off the true line now. He’s beginning to lose concentration. He’s been out there on his own for so long. And Red Rum is making ground on him. They have a furlong to run now, two hundred yards now for Crisp, and Red Rum is still closing on him, and Crisp is getting very tired, and Red Rum is pounding after him and Red Rum is the one who finishes the strongest. He’s going to get up! Red Rum is going to win the National! At the line Red Rum has just snatched it from Crisp! And Red Rum is the winner!

The race was run in a time 19 seconds faster than the previous record set by the immortal Golden Miller some fifty years earlier and proved that on the day both Red Rum and Crisp put up truly exceptional performances.

Well, you know me; this always has me weeping like a willow. What’s your pick?

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All the King’s horses

16 08 2007

The King!
Image source

It’s been thirty years since we lost him (I don’t think my boyfriend is over it yet) and the Presley mystique still endures. All this week we’ve been inundated with tributes, trivia and retrospectives, but you can rely on Bridlepath to bring you the really important stuff: Elvis and his horses.

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Faces of war

21 06 2007

Horses wearing experimental gas masks

Image source

I stumbled across a compelling photo (below) and some great links at we make money not art, exploring the history of gas masks for animals in wartime.

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Equine veterans

27 05 2007

Happy Memorial Day weekend to our American friends! Chris at Real Horses Weigh A Ton has a great post on Robert E. Lee’s horse Traveller to mark the occasion.

Related posts:

Remembering Brigadier
The Animals in War Memorial
Jeff Davis, Egypt, and Cincinnati: General Grant’s Favourite Horses
Lest we forget
Comanche: a true survivor

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Suppose Horses (or Zebras) Never Existed

12 05 2007

Found via digg:

How long would it have taken us to progess from 10,000 BC to 1900, if there weren’t horses available? Clearly a lot more than 12,000 years. What’s your guess? Mine is somewhere between 50,000 to never.

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A boon for lovers of equine history

11 05 2007

From Horse Training Success:

Isn’t it wonderful when families see sense and take pride in the life’s work of a deceased member and take the time to find a suitable repository for the person’s belongings? In this case, we all benefit by their level headedness and generosity. The International Museum of the Horse now has the life’s collection of the world’s ancient horse authority. Bravo!

Bravo indeed, and I can see me spending many blissful hours sifting through everything.

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Comanche: a true survivor

2 05 2007


Notice to my fellow history nuts: there’s a great post at Lagniappe’s Lair about Comanche, a mustang/Morgan cross who was the sole survivor of the Battle of Little Bighorn. You can still see his preserved body at the University of Kansas.

Comanche @ Wiki

Image from Wikipedia

Related posts:

Jeff Davis, Egypt, and Cincinnati: General Grant’s Favourite Horses

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Five memorable mares

29 04 2007

Tell a gelding, ask a stallion, discuss it with a mare


Oh yes, you know what I’m talkin’ about! Here are some ladies you should meet.

1. Ruffian

Foaled in 1972, this niece of Secretariat is considered by many to be the greatest racing filly of the modern era, if not all time. She won all ten starts against fillies, but in a televised match race with Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975, both sesamoid bones in her right foreleg snapped. Her jockey, Jacinto Vasquez, tried to pull her up, but she ran on for another 50 yards, unwilling to give up the race. Attempts were made to save her but after waking from anesthesia Ruffian fractured the new cast causing greater damage and she was euthanized. Ruffian is buried near the finish line in the infield at Belmont Park. It has been said of her “The only race she ever lost was the race to save her life.” Read more | The Ruffian Breyer

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Ancient Thracian chariot found in Bulgaria

26 04 2007

Archaeologists work at a 4,000-year-old Thracian chariot found south of the town of Nova Zagora, some 220 km (137 miles) east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Monday, April 23, 2007. The chariot has two wheels with its roof made of heavy bronze in the form of eagle heads, with a folding iron chair, and contains three horse skeletons among its treasure hoard. Link

Related posts:

Horses in the earth

The earliest riders

Young boy finds prehistoric horse bones

The great stirrup debate

Horse teeth and climate change

8000-year old horse figures found in Anatolia

The Madara Rider of Bulgaria

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A new honour for Secretariat

4 04 2007

This picture still makes me cry

The Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame has its first four-legged inductee: the champion racehorse Secretariat.

Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner, takes his place among nine inductees for 2007.

“Big Red”, as the thoroughbred was known, still holds the record time in the Kentucky Derby of 1min 59.4 seconds.

Considered by many to be the greatest thoroughbred in the modern era of racing, Secretariat raced brilliantly to secure the first Triple Crown win in 25 years.

He stood at stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, from 1974 through 1989. He succumbed to laminitis that year.

He sired a substantial number of major stakes winners, including 1986 Horse of the Year, Lady’s Secret, 1988 Preakness and Belmont winner, Risen Star, and 1990 Melbourne Cup winner, Kingston Rule.

Secretariat won the Horse of the Year title in both 1972 and 1973, and even graced the front cover of Newsweek and Time magazines. Link

Related posts:

June 9, 1973

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Britain’s oldest pit pony has died

4 04 2007

SparkyLast fall I told you about how Sparky’s companion Carl had died; now Sparky himself has gone, at the ripe old age of 36:

Sparky has lived at The National Coal Mining Museum for England for the past 18 years. He previously worked down the mines at Ellington Colliery for 13 years before retiring in 1988. He died on 29 March following a short illness.

“Sparky was a wonderful pony; he wasn’t particularly patient and had a special kick for his stall door when it was time to go back to the field,” said a spokesperson for the National Coal Mining Museum for England. “His loss will be felt by museum staff, visitors and those who adopted him.”

There are only a small number of pit ponies surviving in Britain. The peak of employment for horses underground was in 1913, when 70,000 were working. Most pit ponies were stabled underground, only coming to the surface for the annual holiday or during long strikes or lockouts.

For more information about mining ponies or to make a donation to the Museum’s pit pony appeal in Spark’s memory, contact (tel: 01924 848806). Link

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