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Thread: Horse domestication (Who, where, and when)

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    Horse domestication (Who, where, and when)

    Hi All,

    I am looking for some feedback on my present views about the who, where, and when of horse domestication, and when some of those horse domesticators spread west (along with their proto-Indo-European language). It also attempts to briefly explain the present-day distributions of the haplogroups involved. I welcome any feedback, whether for or against any parts of the following summary.

    Haplogroup R-M269 arose about 14,000 years ago, probably in Kazakhstan. After a long period of time (over 7,000 years later) and after about 83 additional SNP mutations, the L23 mutation would finally occur (as would the mutation giving rise to its brother clade, PF7558/PF7562). Therefore R-L23 originated about 6800 years ago, probably in or near western Kazakhstan (in the vicinity of either the Ural River or Volga River). And about two centuries later (6600 years ago), it gave rise to R-L51 (as well as its brother clade R-Z2103).

    The horse was probably domesticated about 6500 years ago by members of R-L51 (and/or their relatives in Z2103 or PF7558/PF7562), and they would have been speaking an archaic Proto-Indo-European language around this time. Although their language would spread west (along with them, their descendants, and their horses), horse domestication would also spread east to the Botai Culture and beyond (but that could have happened decades or even centuries after they were first domesticated a little further west). Domestication of horses was probably initially done for their milk and meat, followed by breeding, and then for riding as well. And even riding may not have initially involved bitting that would leave traces on the teeth of the horses. So genetic evidence (especially of the domesticators) will be a better indicator of when domestication began.

    Most members of Z2103 (brother clade of L51), would stay in this area north of the Caspian Sea (and some spread down to areas around the Caspian Sea). However, a few of them did go west with their L51 relatives to the Black Sea area (southern Ukraine) and eventually to the lower Danube River. Some members of PF7558/PF7562 (brother clade of L23) also went west with them, as far as the lower Danube area (Romania to Albania, and later spread east to Turkey as well). As for when they had settled in southern Ukraine, it was perhaps by 6000 years ago, and L51 probably gave rise to L11 (L151) about that time. Some descendants of L51 (L-11, U106, P312, etc.) would continue expanding up the Danube River corridor and beyond (and quickly multiplied), along with some members of Z2103. Other members of Z2103 stayed near the lower Danube with their PF7558/PF7562 relatives, and would also spread east with them into Turkey.

    It is not entirely clear why R-L51 descendants (L-11, P312, etc.) would come to be so numerous and widespread across Europe (compared to the relatives who accompanied L51 west to the lower Danube). Perhaps greater numbers at the start of their westward expansion, and/or more leadership skills and aggresiveness. Once in a leadership role, it would tend to make it easier to have more sons and lower infant mortality. Leaders were probably more likely to have multiple wives and thus many more children (not to mention "having their way" with local women in newly conquered territories in western Europe). But their success probably mainly resulted from L51 (and/or their close relatives) being the first domesticators of horses.

    -----------Ken Kinman

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    Continued from my first post above:

    R-L51 and relatives had presumably been part of the Samara Culture, which then evolved into the Khvalynsk Culture. If they moved west towards Ukraine about 6000-6200 years ago, I assume this would make them part of Kurgan Wave 1. The earliest part of the Yamna Culture (Sredny Stog II) would have begun about this time. It was probably in southern Ukraine that R-L51 gave rise to R-L11 (L151). Kurgan Wave 2 (about 5500 years ago) would have taken them (and their relatives) into the lower Danube River area (present-day Romania and Bulgaria). Of course, they took their Yamna Culture, Indo-European language, and horses with them. Remains of their chestnut-colored (definitely domesticated) horses have been found in Romania (dated at about 5000 years ago). It was perhaps in the area of Hungary that R-L11 gave rise to R-P312 about 5200 years ago. This is perhaps where the Italic and Celtic languages split (those in the Italic branch going south of the Alps to Italy, and the Celtic branch continuing north and west along the Danube River Valley.
    ------------Ken Kinman
    P.S. I forgot to mention in my first post, another reason R-L51 and their descendants may have been so successful in Europe is the tendency of R1b men to have more sons than daughters (a trait they have continued to pass down to their male descendants).

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    Hi all,
    In my second post (#3), I suggested that it was perhaps in the area of Hungary that the Italic and Celtic languages may have split. However, now that I have looked closer at that particular issue, that suggestion was wrong. It seems that the split happened later, and that the speakers of a proto-Italic language probably entered Italy from the north, not from the east. My apologies.
    --------------Ken

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    Horses were first domesticated by R1a Sredny Stog people IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Generalissimo View Post
    Horses were first domesticated by R1a Sredny Stog people IMO.
    Thanks for the feedback,
    My understanding is that Sredny Stog I was neither R1a or R1b. The slightly later Sredny Stog II (which would have had domesticate horses) could have contained both R1a and R1b members, so I am not trying to take sides and make the R1a people mad at me.
    In any case, whether horse domestication was by both R1a or R1b or just one of them alone (and then shared between those two groups), I still strongly believe that they first domesticated horses in or near western Kazakhstan. Then horse domestication could have spread east to central Kaxakhstan (Botai Culture) and beyond. It also spread west to Sredny Stog II. At least this seems to me more likely than Sredny Stog II being the origin and spreading much further to the east to central Kazakstan and beyond. I guess one could argue it both ways, so I can certainly understand your position on this.
    Anyway, I think that we can definitely agree that the Botai Culture (which may have been neither R1a nor R1b) probably should not be given credit for first domesticating the horse. It may have been decades or even centuries after the first domestication of the horse that the Botai adopted horse domestication from further west.
    ----------Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by kinman View Post
    Thanks for the feedback,
    My understanding is that Sredny Stog I was neither R1a or R1b. The slightly later Sredny Stog II (which would have had domesticate horses) could have contained both R1a and R1b members, so I am not trying to take sides and make the R1a people mad at me.
    In any case, whether horse domestication was by both R1a or R1b or just one of them alone (and then shared between those two groups), I still strongly believe that they first domesticated horses in or near western Kazakhstan. Then horse domestication could have spread east to central Kaxakhstan (Botai Culture) and beyond. It also spread west to Sredny Stog II. At least this seems to me more likely than Sredny Stog II being the origin and spreading much further to the east to central Kazakstan and beyond. I guess one could argue it both ways, so I can certainly understand your position on this.
    Anyway, I think that we can definitely agree that the Botai Culture (which may have been neither R1a nor R1b) probably should not be given credit for first domesticating the horse. It may have been decades or even centuries after the first domestication of the horse that the Botai adopted horse domestication from further west.
    ----------Ken
    Some of the earliest Corded pottery and horse bits, like those that later spread with R1a groups across Eurasia, are found here...

    Dereivka site, Sredny Stog

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    Horse, Wheel, Language tackled this issue...

    Link

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    With so much focus on the YDNA and autosomal mixture of Yamnaya in the Allentoft and Haak paper, does anyone recollect if there was any evidence of horse domestication from any of these graves? The only thing I recall is that the men were getting their heads bashed in and there was evidence of extreme violence in their deaths.
    YDNA: R1b-BY50830 Stepney, London, UK George Wood b. 1782 English <-> Bavarian cluster 1100 BC
    m gf YDNA: ?? Gurr, James ~1740, Smarden, Kent, England.
    m gm YDNA: R1b-P311+ Beech, John Richard b. 1780, Lewes, England
    m ggf YDNA R1b-U106 Thomas, Edward b 1854, Sittingbourne, Kent
    p ggf YDNA: R1b-Z17901. Gould, John Somerset England 1800s.
    p ggf YDNA: R1b-L48. Scott, William Hamilton Ireland(?) 1800s

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    Turner: R-U152
    Welch: early 1800s E-M84 Kent, England.

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    Outside Anthony's book, the concensus is that the evidnece for horse domestication is still equivocal. Certainly, it was hunted and eaten, and incipient domestication for its traction and Milk is possible. Whether it was ridden or not is a different question. Sure, some early experimentation was likely. But it was far from an efficient war weapon. Not until after 2000 BC was it used for drawing chariots, and the stereotypical image of horseback cavalry dos not develop untill c. 900 BC.

    If, c.4000-3000 BC it had been domesticated anywhere, it'd have been at Botai, with the masive horse bones far overshadowing anything further west. Is this R1b territory ? This is of lesser importance, IMO.

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    It is my understanding that the original dating for the Dereivka site was incorrect, and that not long ago those artifacts were redated and found to be more recent than originally thought. It was apparently not nearly as early as the earlier Botai horse bits in Kazakhstan or earlier Corded pottery elsewhere in Europe. I will have to check my source about that unfortunate error in the literature.
    --------------Ken

    Quote Originally Posted by Generalissimo View Post
    Some of the earliest Corded pottery and horse bits, like those that later spread with R1a groups across Eurasia, are found here...

    Dereivka site, Sredny Stog

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