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OMightyMartian t1_jbblnoc wrote

It's an interesting way to use genetics to confirm what has been hinted by the linguistic evidence from Proto-Indo-European scholarship. In the Indo-European languages, some of the most conserved words across much of the language family have to do with horses and chariots, with cognates for horse, axle, wheel and related words to be found throughout the family. The Yamnaya are closely associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans, and the Pontic-Caspian Steppe is often viewed as one of the more probable locations for the Proto-Indo-European urheimat.


wombat8756 t1_jbbuuzo wrote

Just want to point out that this particular study uses skeletal evidence, the genetic evidence supporting a domestic lineage of horses was previously known


Bookbringer t1_jbeli88 wrote

Specifically, the researchers found 5 Yamnaya skeletons well-dated from 3000-2,500 BCE which display characteristics of "horsemanship syndrome" - ie, stresses and changes to the pelvis, thigh bone, hip socket which are seen in confirmed horseriders.

They aren't saying this is definitive proof of horseback riding. There's some speculation riding another animal (like a mule) or using the same muscles in a non-riding activity (barrel making, basket weaving) could cause similar characteristics.

But since it's already established that the Yamnaya people kept domesticated horses for milk at this point, it's possible.


jeffersonairmattress t1_jbf99qy wrote

Ah, to live 4400 years ago when you could tell your idiot brother to “go milk a horse.”


Birziaks t1_jbfmoos wrote

No need to for that, just go to central Asia. Kumis is still widely consumed


FluphyBunny t1_jbx98a1 wrote

Yes this was missing from the context the previous time I read this. The two evidence together is very interesting.


Jimbob929 t1_jbcyr0r wrote

Man, I wish I was smart enough to know what that means because it sounds cool


OMightyMartian t1_jbd4w05 wrote

A cognate is a word in a language that is related to a word in another language. For instance, the word "night" is a cognate of the German "nacht" and more distantly of the French "nuit", itself descended from Latin "nux". The reconstructed Proto Indo European form is *nókʷts. Linguistics can treat words to some extent like evolutionary biologists treat genes, and if they understand the sound changes that happen in languages and their daughter languages they can come up with reconstructed forms of the ancestral word.

When linguists study a language family like Indo-European, they find some words are well preserved, taking sound changes into accounts. Words like horse, axle and wheel are among the most conserved words in the Indo-European languages, which has led to the hypothesis that before the Proto-Indo-European language began to break up, the Proto-Indo-Europeans had already domesticated horses and invented horse drawn chariots. Other linguistic evidence, such as conserved names for flora and fauna, give clues as to where these ancient people lived, and the Pontic-Caspian Steppe is a major candidate.

From there various groups spread, some south to Anatolia (the Hittites), Greece, others headed west (the Celts and Italic peoples), some north and are the likely ancestors of the Germanic peoples. Others went east and were the ancestors of the Indo-Iranian peoples. There were other groups that seemed to stay closer to home like the Balto-Slavic and Albanian peoples.

It's more complex than that, with influences from both related and unrelated languages (think about how many Romance words are in the English language, largely borrowings from Norman French).


Birziaks t1_jbfr61x wrote

*nókʷts - naktis in lithuanian, or nakts in my local dialect. You can adress me as mister proto Indo-European from now on, thank you very much.


PtahandSuns t1_jbd8c1o wrote

Wouldn’t it be the other way around though? In your example of night didn’t they have night before axles, so why did night change so much? Wouldn’t it make sense that one group came up with the technology traveled around and told people about it and not enough time has gone by to adapt those words into something by other groups yet?


PaulJazof t1_jbdkkne wrote

In linguistic terms the word 'night' didn't change a lot between indo european languages.


Tyg13 t1_jbdsv27 wrote

The Proto-Indo-European words for axle and horse are reconstructed as *h₂eḱs and *h₂éḱwos, so I'm not sure you can make a strong argument that *nókʷts (night) changed more than them.


BabyJesusFTW t1_jbdcvlo wrote

Maybe because night is a period of time vs an animal? Night has many phases as well vs horse is horse?


iLynux t1_jbdjtxs wrote

Night is so ubiquitous on Earth that it's no surprise there are thousands of different words for it across cultures and even within language families.


Rocktopod t1_jbee6yx wrote

That's the opposite point to what the other comment was saying.


iLynux t1_jbfoa18 wrote

What I meant was, everyone on Earth knew about night, and would've been using language to describe it, regardless of what people thousands of miles away call it. Horses were not everywhere on Earth, and so the first people to encounter and domesticate them kinda got dibs on what they were called.


thewerdy t1_jbllrvw wrote

The change in the words isn't the important part - tracing the changes through time is how we arrive at the original PIE word. The important part is that the words were conserved throughout the daughter languages which indicates that the original PIE speakers had words for them and the were used enough and important enough to be passed down from the generations. A lot of really common words in IE languages can be traced back all the way to the hypothesized mother tongue simply because they are commonly used words. The fact that there are tons of preserved words relating to horses, chariots, and wagons tell us that the original PIE speakers likely used them a lot.


StekenDeluxe t1_jbe7ps6 wrote

All of which strongly supports the idea of Proto-Indo-Europeans engaging in chariot-driving, but none of which supports the idea of Proto-Indo-Europeans riding on horseback.


razzt t1_jbc03kf wrote

Aren't the horses getting tired?


SaltyVirginAsshole t1_jbf0ad7 wrote

Pertaining to 'riding a horse' from the perspective of the 'horse' that is to be 'ridden'; The spirit is willing but the flesh is spongy and bruised.


StekenDeluxe t1_jbdohue wrote


The earliest written evidence seems to suggest that horse-riding was, for the longest time, considered a bit of a reckless, foolhardy "circus act" - something wild and dangerous, fit for clowns, fools and daredevils.

We have letters from one Mesopotamian lord to another, scolding him for riding on horseback - basically saying "cut it out dude, don't be a fucking clown - and next time, drive a chariot like a proper gentleman."

In the Iliad, too, horse-riding is described as a dangerous activity one does in front of a paying crowd - all the Homeric heroes go into battle either on chariots or on foot (and often first on chariot and then on foot).

In the Vedas, too, the only instance of horse-riding I know of seems to have a comic, ribald (and perhaps even mocking?) tone - the Maruts are described as "spreading their legs like women" in order to mount their horses. In all other descriptions of their heavenly rides to and fro, they drive in chariots, as do practically all other Vedic gods.

All of which makes me wonder if perhaps this skeleton might have been that of an acrobat or a clown of some sort, rather than a shepherd, a warrior or a lord?


Colonial_trifecta t1_jbeao8m wrote

Before the introduction of stirrups you would have a lot less stability. It would make it alot more dangerous and harder to ride. It also limits the activities you can do with the horse. I wonder if this contributed to that earlier attitude towards riding?


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jbezziq wrote

> Before the introduction of stirrups you would have a lot less stability.

Stirrups are considered important for allowing you to fight more effectively while on horseback. Simply riding without stirrups is not a problem at all.


kerill333 t1_jbf1gih wrote

Stirrups make riding a lot easier, and safer.


War_Hymn t1_jbfntph wrote

If you have a decent saddle. But most early horsemen (including the Macedonian companion cavalrymen that rode with Alexander the Great) had nothing more than a thick blanket or hide to cushion the back of the horse. This sort of riding took a lot more skill.


mordom t1_jbe7zyv wrote

I wonder if this had something to do with the anatomy of the horses back then. Apparently horses in antiquity were much smaller than their current size, which would definitely make it harder and slightly more ridiculous riding one (the image of a fat man on a donkey comes to mind). Also, I am guessing the back of a horse and its neck had to undergo some structural changes to be able to support giving long term rides without suffering any lasting damages. You can already see how quickly their neck stance changes when they go feral.


Runonlaulaja t1_jbeny30 wrote

People were also a lot smaller back then...


j4nkyst4nky t1_jbezdz8 wrote

Not by much. The average was lower, but people were still getting to more or less modern heights. A six foot tall man would have been considered tall, but not like a freak of nature or anything.


AmadeusV1 t1_jbffork wrote

Read in a book the other day that around the 10th century, the average western European warhorse was approximately 14 hands, about the size of a large pony today. A quick Google search reads that they may have been as short as 13 hands on average around Roman times.


kerill333 t1_jbffce2 wrote

The back and neck haven't changed. Being ridden damages horses, as their back is in effect a suspension bridge, but there are ways to prevent or delay this. Wild horses' 'neck stance' is not necessarily that different to ridden horses'.


[deleted] t1_jbducmn wrote



SpaceShipRat t1_jbe02q8 wrote

Wild guesswork isn't the best way to figure out things, especially when contradicting someone giving actual sources and facts.

Training animals to pull things came before horse riding, as humans already had experience attaching oxen and donkeys to ploughs and carts. Then they had the idea of standing on a tiny cart pulled by a horse, and only a long time afterwards did folks get the idea to sit on the actual horse. It might seem obvious to us, but it was absurd in ancient times, so much that legends of centaurs sprang up in greece when they heard of barbarians "riding" around.


StekenDeluxe t1_jbe98y3 wrote

Precisely. Very well-put.

If folks were riding horses all through the Bronze Age, one suspects that this would have left at least some trace in the written record.

But no.

Not a single text from that era describes horse-riding as something “normal,” at home or abroad, among the rich or among the poor. It’s always wild, crazy, dangerous, comical, irresponsible or absurd.

I’ll add one more example.

In the fifth book of the Odyssey, at one point Odysseus survives a shipwreck by straddling a plank of wood. As he is helplessly thrown hither and thither by the waves, he is compared to a man on horseback. Now think about that. The image only makes sense if, to Homer and his contemporaries, a rider on horseback was in no way, shape or form in control of the situation. The animal, much like the raging ocean, was seen as a wild, headstrong, violent thing, heeding no command and obeying no orders. Think rodeo, not cavalry. That stuff came later.


SpaceShipRat t1_jbfssqc wrote

what comes to mind is the minoan bull rodeos, where they'd do just that, hop over a bull, do handstands, it's not a strange idea that someone would try the same kind of rodeo with horses.


CandidFriend t1_jbdxdm6 wrote

>My suspicion is that the earliest horsefolk were riders

Don't archeological records seem to indicate that the early domesticated horses to be too small to bear the weight of a man same way latter breeds do, which is why chariots were invented to begin with?


TheTempusrex t1_jbeob8o wrote

The osteological analysis of "horse rider syndrome" is based on fairly well researched biomechanical stress factors. The bony changes dont occur randomly and the muscle groups involved in the movement are isolated, so no it is not likely that this person was an acrobat.


aShittierShitTier4u t1_jbbs6cq wrote

I still think that it was originally all some stud horse's idea, take along a monkey on his back to groom him and trim his hooves. Also that could be a good way to escape a predator, buck off the rider and run away while they get eaten alive. Probably why horses think that they are smarter than the people riding them.


Sniffy4 t1_jbd2yk1 wrote

interesting, because if you look at the horses pulling chariots in paintings from the battle of Kadesh about 3500 years ago, they are clearly much smaller than modern horses; would be like riding a pony


StekenDeluxe t1_jbdqudx wrote

Believe it or not, but the Egyptian horses at that battle were - at the time - actually considered to be quite big!

Earlier pharaohs had to make do with an even smaller breed, the Central Asian Akhal-Teke. Ye olde Egyptians didn't get their hands on thoroughbred ("pur-sang") Arabian horses until the reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II.


tanathosX t1_jbe1426 wrote

tbf people were lot shorter too


War_Hymn t1_jbfoxqy wrote

Average male height in New Kingdom Egypt was 5 feet 3 inches.


tanathosX t1_jbfw1o2 wrote

>5 feet 3 inches

which is the size of 14 yo nowadays :p


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jbf0fgf wrote

> because if you look at the horses pulling chariots in paintings from the battle of Kadesh about 3500 years ago, they are clearly much smaller than modern horses

Cool of them to ensure everything was depicted to scale.


Sniffy4 t1_jbfbi97 wrote

if the horses were large enough to ride, chariots would be a pointless waste in battle, which in fact they were by Roman times.


Hahattack t1_jbcihcn wrote

Who and where? Modern day what? I am so curious who the first people to ride were!


EggnogThot t1_jbclntq wrote

Yamnaya, pontic-capsian steppe


Hahattack t1_jbcm5mp wrote

Answers my question thank you! I googled your answer and there is a bunch of great info on the wiki as well. Thanks again!


EggnogThot t1_jbcmubh wrote

Any time, these people also most likely spoke the root mother language that eventually developed into all sorts of languages spoken today, from Punjabi to Italian to English. They really were trendsetters lol


iamnearlysmart t1_jbd6kns wrote

Gujarati too, if I may add. And Bengali. Former being the mother tongue of fathers of two nations ( Gujarati and Gandhi, Jinnah ) and latter being the language of the national anthem of two countries ( Bengali and India, Bangladesh )


ubzrvnT t1_jbc5mn5 wrote

when i get high, i always think what humans would've used if horses just didn't exist?


SassyShorts t1_jbc8i6g wrote

Look at American history. They didn't have horse-like or oxen-like animals to domesticate. The best they had was Llamas as far as I know.


rathat t1_jbcwxrk wrote

When they first saw them, the Aztecs are on record calling horses giant deer and the Incans thought they were a type of llama


StekenDeluxe t1_jbdpxzo wrote

The Mesopotamians first referred to horses as "fast-donkeys" or "mountain-donkeys."


mymeatpuppets t1_jbcvf1m wrote

You haven't considered moose.


HermanCainsGhost t1_jbd4kc7 wrote

Moose were never used or domesticated that way. It's not impossible they could have been, but being such northerly animals, human populations tended to be smaller near moose populations


sunberrygeri t1_jbd7e4m wrote

Many mammals are incredibly hard to tame, let alone domesticate (intentionally and successfully breeding for useful traits over a very long period of time). Sub-saharan Africa had a similar problem.


War_Hymn t1_jbfqice wrote

Doesn't adult height in a demographics usually has to do with nutritional factors?


HermanCainsGhost t1_jbfrnqu wrote

By “populations were smaller”, I meant there were less people, not that they were of shorter stature, sorry for the confusion


Runonlaulaja t1_jbeotbq wrote


Those have been used for a long time in the far North


Mickey2Shoe t1_jbe2cfg wrote

There were definitely horses in America. They died out around 10k years ago but were reintroduced by the Spanish in the 1400s.


DaddyCatALSO t1_jbd0v2j wrote

thsoe thta didn;t die form climate change got barbecued, including native horses, North American llamas, camelopines, temperate zone musk ox relatives, ground sloths, glyptodonts, Mexican giant tortoises pronghorn relatives (moonhorn, fanhorn spikehorn fourhorn) etc


Mekisteus t1_jbdji5q wrote

Sled dogs as well, though of limited geographical use.


ubzrvnT t1_jbdu525 wrote

Americans had llamas?! What? Was George Washington leading a fight with some llamas?


ocasas t1_jbeuoqs wrote

There where lots of civilizations prior to the europeans arriving to America.


ubzrvnT t1_jbf41o7 wrote

Yeah I understand that. The dude said "American history." When someone says "American history" in any context, do you immediately include and think of all North American history? No.


ocasas t1_jbfdwec wrote

Yeah, I do. That's how I was taught: Historia de América Do you think America just spontaneously happened when discovered?

This is what happens when the people from USA co-opt the name of the whole continent just for their country. What comes to your mind when I say European history?


ubzrvnT t1_jbfhkxc wrote

All of Europe comes to mind because Europe is a specific continent. I was taught there are seven continents. Are you only taught there are six? When you say "America, or American history" you're including South America in all that context?


ocasas t1_jbfx83d wrote

Yeah, that's how it is taught in most romance language speaking countries: Six continents one of those being America.

And yes, when we say "American history", we include North, Central and South America there. Hence why when you say 'americans had llamas?' I don't think of the US founding fathers, but of the Incas.

Don't you think it is weird to have your country co-opt the name of it's continent? America inside North America? Imagine calling someone from Louisiana 'south american', you have to get by using 'southern'.

The only other country I can't think of of this happening is South Africa, but they always use 'South' so there is no mistaking it for anything else.


ubzrvnT t1_jbgbzsf wrote

Pretty simple. You and I were taught two different continental systems. What do you call someone from the United States?


ubzrvnT t1_jbggjmp wrote

Also, I wouldn't call someone from Louisiana "South American" because I was taught South America was a different continent. I would be more inclined to think you might call a Canadian or a Brazilian an "American" since all Americas are one giant continent in romance language education.


ocasas t1_jbgprnd wrote

Canadians, Brazilians, Argentinians, Mexicans, etc. are all Americans, since they all are from 'America'.

The bit about Louisiana, what I'm trying to say is since the USA co-opted the name 'America' for the country, you can't call the south of your country 'south America' or the north 'north America'. It's confusing!! So you just go by 'The South' because 'America's South' or 'American South' is confusing as well!


ocasas t1_jbgns5k wrote

  • In spanish: Estadounidense. [Royal Spanish Academy on the subject] ( <- see number 4: "It souldn't be forgotten that America is the name of the whole continent and every inhabitant is american." The Royal Spanish Academy has final say on everything concerning the spanish language.

  • In english, it's a bit tricky: 'American' is the accepted demonym, but Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, Oxford Learner's and list 'American' as an inhabitant of the continent, but also an inhabitant of the USA. So 'american', as a demonym for someone from the USA, is not very useful. Hence our problem with 'American history': USA history? or the continent history? Although Merriam-Webster does list United Statesian as a native from the USA.

More on the subject


moeriscus t1_jbd6f9i wrote

Jared Diamond talks about this at some length in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Even though I'm not a big fan of the book and its extreme thesis of environmental determinism, he makes a valid point about the Americas' handicap in not having horses, oxen, or other large domesticates for agriculture etc. It's a hell of a lot easier to plow a field and grow crops when you can strap a plow to a docile beast of burden. We don't often think about the basic problem of food in the pre-industrial emergence of complex societies, cities, and specialized craftsmen who can focus on cultural/scientific/artistic developments instead of needing to spend all their time trying not to starve.


AutoModerator t1_jbd6fcc wrote


It looks like you are talking about the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

The book over the past years has become rather popular, which is hardly surprising since it is a good and entertaining read. It has reached the point that for some people it has sort of reached the status of gospel. On /r/history we noticed a trend where every time a question was asked that has even the slightest relation to the book a dozen or so people would jump in and recommend the book. Which in the context of history is a bit problematic and the reason this reply was written.

Why it is problematic can be broken down into two reasons:

  1. In academic history there isn't such thing as one definitive authority or work on things. There are often others who research the same subjects and people that dive into work of others to build on it or to see if it indeed holds up. This being critical of your sources and not relying on one source is actually a very important skill in studying history often lacking when dozens of people just spam the same work over and over again as a definite guide and answer to "everything".
  2. There are a good amount of modern historians and anthropologists who are quite critical of Guns, Germs, and Steel and there are some very real issues with Diamond's work. These issues are often overlooked or not noticed by the people reading his book. Which is understandable, given the fact that for many it will be their first exposure to the subject. Considering the popularity of the book it is also the reason that we felt it was needed to create this response.

In an ideal world, every time the book was posted in /r/history, it would be accompanied by critical notes and other works covering the same subject. Lacking that a dozen other people would quickly respond and do the same. But simply put, that isn't always going to happen and as a result, we have created this response so people can be made aware of these things. Does this mean that the /r/history mods hate the book or Diamond himself? No, if that was the case, we would simply instruct the bot to remove every mention of it. This is just an attempt to bring some balance to a conversation that in popular history had become a bit unbalanced. It should also be noted that being critical of someone's work isn't the same as outright dismissing it. Historians are always critical of any work they examine, that is part of their core skill set and key in doing good research.

Below you'll find a list of other works covering much of the same subject. Further below you'll find an explanation of why many historians and anthropologists are critical of Diamonds work.

Other works covering the same and similar subjects.

Criticism of Guns, Germs, and Steel

Many historians and anthropologists believe Diamond plays fast and loose with history by generalizing highly complex topics to provide an ecological/geographical determinist view of human history. There is a reason historians avoid grand theories of human history: those "just so stories" don't adequately explain human history. It's true however that it is an entertaining introductory text that forces people to look at world history from a different vantage point. That being said, Diamond writes a rather oversimplified narrative that seemingly ignores the human element of history.

Cherry-picked data while ignoring the complexity of issues

In his chapter "Lethal Gift of Livestock" on the origin of human crowd infections he picks 5 pathogens that best support his idea of domestic origins. However, when diving into the genetic and historic data, only two pathogens (maybe influenza and most likely measles) could possibly have jumped to humans through domestication. The majority were already a part of the human disease load before the origin of agriculture, domestication, and sedentary population centers. This is an example of Diamond ignoring the evidence that didn't support his theory to explain conquest via disease spread to immunologically naive Native Americas.

A similar case of cherry-picking history is seen when discussing the conquest of the Inca.

> Pizarro's military advantages lay in the Spaniards' steel swords and other weapons, steel armor, guns, and horses... Such imbalances of equipment were decisive in innumerable other confrontations of Europeans with Native Americans and other peoples. The sole Native Americans able to resist European conquest for many centuries were those tribes that reduced the military disparity by acquiring and mastering both guns and horses.

This is a very broad generalization that effectively makes it false. Conquest was not a simple matter of conquering a people, raising a Spanish flag, and calling "game over." Conquest was a constant process of negotiation, accommodation, and rebellion played out through the ebbs and flows of power over the course of centuries. Some Yucatan Maya city-states maintained independence for two hundred years after contact, were "conquered", and then immediately rebelled again. The Pueblos along the Rio Grande revolted in 1680, dislodged the Spanish for a decade, and instigated unrest that threatened the survival of the entire northern edge of the empire for decades to come. Technological "advantage", in this case guns and steel, did not automatically equate to battlefield success in the face of resistance, rough terrain and vastly superior numbers. The story was far more nuanced, and conquest was never a cut and dry issue, which in the book is not really touched upon. In the book it seems to be case of the Inka being conquered when Pizarro says they were conquered.

Uncritical examining of the historical record surrounding conquest

Being critical of the sources you come across and being aware of their context, biases and agendas is a core skill of any historian.

Pizarro, Cortez and other conquistadores were biased authors who wrote for the sole purpose of supporting/justifying their claim on the territory, riches and peoples they subdued. To do so they elaborated their own sufferings, bravery, and outstanding deeds, while minimizing the work of native allies, pure dumb luck, and good timing. If you only read their accounts you walk away thinking a handful of adventurers conquered an empire thanks to guns and steel and a smattering of germs. No historian in the last half century would be so naive to argue this generalized view of conquest, but European technological supremacy is one keystone to Diamond's thesis so he presents conquest at the hands of a handful of adventurers.

The construction of the arguments for GG&S paints Native Americans specifically, and the colonized world in general, as categorically one step behind.

To believe the narrative you need to view Native Americans as somehow naive, unable to understand Spanish motivations and desires, unable react to new weapons/military tactics, unwilling to accommodate to a changing political landscape, incapable of mounting resistance once conquered, too stupid to invent the key technological advances used against them, and doomed to die because they failed to build cities, domesticate animals and thereby acquire infectious organisms. This while they often did fare much better as suggested in the book (and the sources it tends to cite). They often did mount successful resistance, were quick to adapt to new military technologies, build sprawling citiest and much more. When viewed through this lens, we hope you can see why so many historians and anthropologists are livid that a popular writer is perpetuating a false interpretation of history while minimizing the agency of entire continents full of people.

Further reading

If you are interested in reading more about what others think of Diamon's book you can give these resources a go:

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


ingodwetryst t1_jbco0ow wrote

camels? donkeys?


Adrian_Bock t1_jbcr3r5 wrote

Camels I can tolerate, but donkeys are horse-adjacent. If we're gonna eliminate horses, it's only right that we say goodbye to donkeys too.


Purplekeyboard t1_jbd8rq4 wrote

Zebras or camels or buffalo or elephants or elk.

Selectively breed them for thousands of years and we'd get something much better suited for riding.


grambell789 t1_jbcwgdk wrote

I'm sure prehistoric teenagers were riding horses way longer than we will ever know


NewbiwanKenewbi t1_jbbpthm wrote

So I guess humans never rode horses 5200 years ago. #science


Neurocor t1_jbcgi5t wrote

they omitted any evidence that went past the 5000 year mark. #ScIeNcE


MkJorgy t1_jbcruj8 wrote

I'm not a historian or anything, but growing up a boy, I can guarantee you that men started riding horses 1 day after ever seeing one


StekenDeluxe t1_jbe7blu wrote

Yes but as a stunt, as a joke or on a dare, to impress his buddies or the local girls. Think rodeo, not cavalry. "Good riding" - where the rider is actually in control of the animal - seems to have appeared rather late.


FlamboTechnical t1_jbdznlz wrote

We probably rode giant emus in New Zealand.

We are just awaiting a discovery of a painted vase that proves this.


chucklesoclock t1_jbd3evi wrote

I can confirm I discovered horseback riding at roughly the same time in my last civ game


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jbfbq5d wrote

There's some proper looney tunes ideas in this thread. Hard to work out why people are so unhinged over such a relatively simple idea, but horses can be lots of different sizes (they still are today!) and still be used to carry riders. Do a simple google search and you can find horse sizes can vary quite a lot. People ride ponies all the time, quite happily.

Absolutely no idea why people are talking about breaking horses backs and stirrups and ancient paintings. Lay off the youtube videos for a little while.


Sailorboy__99 t1_jbfd4e1 wrote

Damn, it sounds crazy that our species (homo sapiens) has been here for ~200 000 years and we started doing these kind of things (farming, riding a horse, starting up civilizations etc.) only about ~12 000 years ago.

Give me a time machine. There is so much to see before that time!


[deleted] t1_jben2x1 wrote



history-ModTeam t1_jbfdp23 wrote

While this video is definitely an interesting video about Hitler and Stalin, it would be much better if there was at least some sort of summary or description of the video itself.



LeMiaow51 t1_jbfe6ht wrote

5000 years ago, the winged hussars arrived !


banuk_sickness_eater t1_jbe8glq wrote

Damn, a thousand years after the advent of civilization, and 250,000 years after the emergence of behaviorally modern man.

Imagine just having to walk everywhere with all your shit all the time having no way to convienly carry any thing you manage to accumulate except for the muscles on your back.

The extreme poverty of life of pre-horse steppe wanderers must've been immemse.

I wonder what it must've been like for somewhere like China to see the vast ocean of haggardly feckless wretches always ambling around at your peripheries go from absolutely pitiable non-factors too suddenly start showing up to battles with the ancient version of nukes that completely fuck you up and topple your civilization every couple generations.


StekenDeluxe t1_jbeby5n wrote

> Imagine just having to walk everywhere with all your shit all the time having no way to convently carry any thing you manage to accumulate except for the muscles on your back.

People had wagons long before they figured out how to ride horses. Pack animals, too.


Tiamatium t1_jbeaugi wrote

I doubt it. We have a mountain of evidence, including archeological, anatomical, written and oral traditions saying that we started riding horses somewhere between 3000 and 2000 years ago, and we have this suggesting it was 5000 years ago. We have bones of horses showing that 3000 years ago they were too small to support an adult human rider, we have paintings and descriptions from 3000 years ago showing horses being smaller (e.g. from Egypt), be we have oral traditions saying humans used to ride chariots dragged by a pair of horses (e.g. from Homer), etc. All the "horse riders" would be risking death, simply because horses were too small, the weight of rider would break the horses back and throw the rider down and kill or injure him (and injury was death).


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jbf657b wrote

>simply because horses were too small, the weight of rider would break the horses back and throw the rider down and kill or injure him (and injury was death).

You have absolutely no evidence for any of this. Please show us a single source.


TK-421wastaken t1_jbd3n7y wrote

So we know we started doing this (and so many other things) way longer than 5000 years ago… these statements need to start reading more correctly as AT LEAST 5000 years ago.

Like the claim I read similarly 3-4 years ago that the first domesticated wolf/dog was like 5000 years ago. Some little trib/family totally had wolf friends like 10,000+ years ago… just no way to prove it.


SolomonBlack t1_jbdf8vk wrote

Science doesn’t care if some clever buggers tamed a wolf or three, it wants to know when the practice was established and dogs were behaviorally and morphologically modified.

Which we would look at remains to see if they showed bones too big or small, do estimates based on genetics, any depictions in art, etc.

And for 5000 years ago that’s really getting into agricultural civilization proper.


Prime_Cat_Memes t1_jbe7m1r wrote

Göbekli Tepe is 12,000 years old. Science knows what it knows but it doesn't know everything and the consensus about very old things is frequently wrong.


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jbdfobb wrote

> just no way to prove it.

So how do you know that, then, yet the rest of the world remains blissfully unaware?


MustFixWhatIsBroken t1_jbd5i0g wrote

I bet it's way earlier. There are paintings of animals 10's of thousands of years old. I doubt it took so long for humans to test their curiosity.


Paltenburg t1_jbecmwh wrote

Domestication of a species probably requires some breeding. You can't just catch one and sit on it.


MustFixWhatIsBroken t1_jbedhfc wrote

Horses are broken in. Before agricultural practices were adopted, hunters would push animals into corners or ditches. Dogs were domesticated by hunters. I don't see why horses would've taken too much longer. Plants, animals and the elements were the only things they had to occupy their time.


Paltenburg t1_jbee063 wrote

>Horses are broken in.

Yes but this might apply only to species that are already domesticated.

As for the rest: That makes sense, but you have to look at evidence as well, like an article that's linked in op:


MustFixWhatIsBroken t1_jbefb55 wrote

The article was definitely interesting, but they're only going on what limited material has been found. Remember, I'm suggesting horses were domesticated tens of thousands of years prior. I've got harnesses in the stable that have nearly disintegrated, and they're only from my grandparents day. Outside of potentially fossilized horses, I doubt any evidence remains.


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jbf08tb wrote

> Remember, I'm suggesting horses were domesticated tens of thousands of years prior.

With absolutely no evidence.


MustFixWhatIsBroken t1_jbi02hd wrote

Not entirely, "the evidence suggests" is still the method. These researchers are making educated guesses based on the evidence they've found. I'm simply doing the same. For example, what's the chance that the researchers in the article found the very first horse to ever be bridled or ridden? The likelihood is that they found early evidence, but certainly not the earliest. The odds of that happening would be near non-existent. We have cave paintings of horses from 25,000 years ago, and we have cave paintings of animals from 80,000 years ago. Humans really haven't evolved much in that time. It's easy to underestimate primitive people, we do it all the time.


Remote-Specialist623 t1_jbdfno3 wrote

Nah they were building pyramids “main stream” at that time and couldn’t ride a horse?! They had boats to navigate the oceans but couldn’t ride a horse?. Horse back riding should be on the pre ice age level


Paltenburg t1_jbecsnv wrote

Mayan and Aztec pyramids where build without horses too.


YikesOfficial t1_jbdxh84 wrote

I’ve seen rocks with people riding dragons around too, I should gather them up from the playground and get a dating done on them.


Nearby_Corner7132 t1_jbctbtj wrote

Look what Jesus did! Look what Jesus did! Look what Jesus did!


turndownfortheclap t1_jbdbjnr wrote

Humanity is 200,000 years old lol. They did not just figure it out 5,000 years ago 😂