Last remaining ‘wild’ horses not so wild after all

Researchers have concluded that Przewalski's horses, long believed to be wild, were actually descended from ancient domesticated horses. ©Ludovic Hirlimann

The stocky horses of central Asia known as Przewalski’s horses were long believed to be the only truly “wild” horses in the world — the ancestors of the domesticated horse.

But recent research into the DNA of this ancient horse suggests that, like the other free-roaming horses of the world, Przewalski’s horses are feral — descended from domestic stock — not truly wild.

“We have now found that there are no truly wild horses left,” zooarchaeologist Alan Outram from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom told Science.

The team of researchers published their findings in the journal last week, concluding that Przewalski’s horses descended from ancient domesticated horses, and that the ancestors of today’s domestic horses remains unknown.

Read the story here, or find the researchers’ paper here.