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Scientists find signs of horse riding in ancient human remains

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Horseback riding was likely a common activity as early as 4,500 to 5,000 years ago, according to a provocative new study that looked at human skeletal remains for small signs of the physical stress associated with riding horses.

People first started keeping horses about 5,500 years ago, initially for their meat and milk, researchers believe. But how and when horses became a transformative mode of transportation isn’t so clear.

“Cattle and sheep and goats were domesticated thousands of years before horses were. And horses are different from cattle and sheep and goats, in that they are essentially a transportation technology,” says David Anthony, an emeritus professor of anthropology with Hartwick College.

Horses began living with humans before the invention of the wheel, and horse-drawn chariots first appeared around 4,000 years ago. About a thousand years later, there’s an explosion of horses and horse-related themes depicted in artwork. And scientists have tried to collect other forms of evidence to home in on when horse riding may have first emerged.

Some researchers, like Anthony and his partner, archaeologist Dorcas Brown, have examined the teeth of ancient horses, to check for wear patterns caused by bits. The trouble is, there’s not that much material out there to study, says Anthony.

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https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2023/03/03/gettyimages-1445736956-ca8ab285524fa8df4afe4441ce88d1fc7939d98a-s800-c85.webp

A new study of ancient human remains finds that horse riding may have been common as early as 4,500 to 5,000 years ago. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.npr.org/2023/03/03/1160961227/scientists-find-signs-of-horse-riding-in-ancient-human-remains

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