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Przewalski's Horses are Feral, not Wild.

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Beastking04, 23 Feb 2018.

  1. Beastking04

    Beastking04 Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone heard news about this yet?

    How DNA Proved Wild Horses No Longer Exist

    Przewalski's Horses are not wild, but feral.

    What's to become of conservation for them, and zoo breeding like the San Diego Safari Park and National Zoo?
     
  2. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    Oof that seems like a game changer. However I assume they are important to the steppes as a four-legged manure machine, and I assume they have a cultural value to the natives.
     
  3. Sheather

    Sheather Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully we don't let something this arbitrary change our practices with the species.
    The horses are free-living and have been for a very long time.
    They've become wild animals again, regardless of their distant history, and they retain the wild phenotype more than other other horse.
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    The original paper is here (but needs a log-in to access): Ancient genomes revisit the ancestry of domestic and Przewalski’s horses

    A much better article than the earlier posted one comes from Science magazine (in which the paper was published): http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/ancient-dna-upends-horse-family-tree

    If I'm reading it correctly, Przewalski's Horses aren't feral from the domestic horses we have today, they are descended from an original domestication c.5500 years ago which is (apparently) unrelated to the domestic horses we currently have. So it is a bit simplistic to say "Przewalski's are just feral domestics".
     
  5. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    I did not yet read the full article, but it seems the other way: Przewalski's horses are related to horses which were first tamed.

    Horse domestication proceeded by people catching, breaking and taming many local populations of horses. So the last common ancestor of domestic horses lived long before humans started taming horses. This is different from dogs, cattle, sheep etc., where a small group was tamed and then spread worldwide with little further input from local wild populations.
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Reading various blogs and online discussion threads relating to this research, it appears that Jurek7 has hit the nail on the head; the authors of this research have added two and two and made five, not even considering the much more likely option that the Botai horses represent a domestication event so recent (at the time of their existence) that their genome had not yet diverged from their wild kin.
     
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  7. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    Would the Przewalski's horses be familiar to dingoes then?
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    No, I doubt that a Przewalski's Horse has ever met a dingo :p
     
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  9. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    Whoops English broke. I meant are the Przewalski's horses domestic-but-wild like dingoes?
     
  10. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    Wait you haven’t heard about the legendary Prezwalski’s Dingo?:p
     
  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, that's the exact point in debate - this new research claims to have proven that this is the case, but discounts several other explanations for the data entirely in order to focus solely on this conclusion, along with the preponderance of existing evidence.

    So I doubt it.
     
  12. Giant Panda

    Giant Panda Well-Known Member

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    The crucial piece of information missing from the paper is where and when the archaic samples originated. Without that, you can't reach a conclusion either way.
     
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  13. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Just another point. 5000 years ago 'domestic' hoses were likely not selected towards any characters. So wild and domestic horses at that time were genetically the same. Ancient bones cannot be recognized as wild or domestic horses by apperance, only by signs on backbone from wearing the rider, association with bridles etc. (unlike e.g. domestic cattle which changed to smaller size, shorter horns etc).
     
  14. Beastking04

    Beastking04 Well-Known Member

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    But what about conservation, and captive breeding for Przewalski's Horses?

    What'll happen to that?
     
  15. agnmeln

    agnmeln Well-Known Member

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    Quite possibly nothing different at all.
     
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  16. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    Well, this is an interesting story for sure.

    I doubt it will affect the species' zoo presence much though, especially when you look at how many zoos still exhibit domestic camels.
     
  17. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that whenever trying to domesticate a species there will be strong selection for docile , tractable animals. Although of course this section may not affect phenotype. I depends whether these ferals escaped early on in the history of domestication when there would have been fewer changes.
     
  18. Swampy

    Swampy Well-Known Member

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    Not much, as, even if the assumptions of the study do turn out to be correct, they have still been living wild for ~5000 years; a great deal longer than most feral domestics. So, from an ecological standpoint, this doesn't really change anything, and I therefore doubt it will affect the conservation management of the subspecies.
     
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