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Were there domestic horses in ancient In

  Dec 21, 2021

Were there domestic horses in ancient India?

Q Why is it in News ?

A A group of researchers has been able to collect bones and teeth samples of over 2,000 such ancient specimens from regions from where domestic horses could have originated.

  • The research has studied fossils from the Iberian Peninsula in the southwestern corner of Europe, or the western-most edge of Eurasia (Spain and its neighbours), Anatolia (modern Turkey), and the steppes of Western Eurasia and Central Asia.
  • These collective data have led them to decide that until about 4200 BCE, many distinct horse populations inhabited various regions of Eurasia.

Q What are key findings of the research ?

  • A similar genetic analysis has found that horses with the modern domestic DNA profile lived in the Western Eurasian Steppes, particularly the Volga-Don River region.
  • By around 2200–2000 BCE, these horses spread out to Bohemia (the Czech Republic of today and Ukraine), and Central Asia and Mongolia.
  • These horses were bred by breeders from these countries to sell them to countries that demanded them.
  • Riding on horses became popular in these nations by around 3300 BCE, and armies were built using them, for example, in Mesopotamia, Iran, Kuwait and the ‘Fertile Crescent’ or Palestine.
  • The first spoke-wheeled chariots emerged around 2000-1800 BC.

Q What are details about Horses in India ?

  • Horses were never native to India.
  • The only animals native to India were the Asian elephant, snow leopard, rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, Sloth bear, Himalayan wolf, Gaur bison, red panda, crocodile, and the birds peacock and flamingo.
  • Thus, it seems clear from these sources that horse is not native to India.
  • Horses must have come into India through inter-regional trading between countries.
  • Indians might have traded their elephants, tigers, monkeys, birds to their neighbours and imported horses.

Q When did India get its horses?

  • Horse-related remains and artefacts have been found in Late Harappan sites (1900-1300 BCE).
  • Horses did not seem to have played an essential role in the Harappan civilization.
  • This is in contrast to the Vedic Period, which is a little later (1500-500 BCE).
  • The Sanskrit word for horse is Ashwa, which is mentioned in the Vedas and Hindu Scriptures.
  • These are roughly towards the end of the late Bronze Age.