Horses Were Tamed, Milked, and Probably Ridden 5,500 Years Ago
March 6, 2009 11:44 PM   Subscribe


in Civ II I usually invented Horseback Riding around 3500BC so this research makes sense, though if you fart around with granaries and masonry then you will get delayed a millenium or so.
posted by troy at 1:33 AM on March 7, 2009 [7 favorites]

Laughing fit when read "Using a new technique developed by co-author Robin ".

posted by Mblue at 5:28 AM on March 7, 2009

I find it frustrating that in Civ IV you have to research Animal Husbandry before you can even see the horses. What? Before we collectively figured out how to herd them, we couldn't SEE them? You can see the sheep and the cows on the map, but not the horses. It boggles my mind. "Oh look, Ugg, I just rounded up these sheep and now there are some really tall... horsey... type things riding around over there. I swear they weren't there a minute ago."

(I know it's just part of the game strategy, but really, it irritates me.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:33 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's not that you can't see the horses, it's that you can't recognize them as a potential resource until you develop Animal Husbandry.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:16 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's what I have a legitimate question about:

So lets pretend someone DID tame horses a millennium earlier than we thought. Why does that matter?

If horses were tamed 1000 years later...and that knowledge spread to other areas, isn't that WAY more useful for society than someone taming horses and keeping it to themselves?

You gotta spread that information people...tell us about your time machine TODAY...not 2000 years later after we have already invented it.

If you don't spread information about your DON'T get credit for "FIRST".
posted by hal_c_on at 9:23 AM on March 7, 2009

vibotronicia: I'm talking Civ IV. You can't see 'em. Trust me, I play more Civ than is really healthy.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:16 AM on March 7, 2009

Pretend? It seems like they've discovered a variety of evidence that they did.

Anyway, I don't think that the point of this was to reassign credit for who first domesticated horses. Rather, this discovery explains in part the shift in a particular culture from nomadic lifestyle to settling in villages. I've only read the first article so far, but it does discuss the social changes that tend to accompany this development. History isn't the subject of what would have been useful, it goes where the evidence leads. Like any empirically-driven discipline, seeming conundrums like the one you mentioned may indicate a problem with a theory, or they may point the way to new discoveries. Turn it around. 1000 years is a VERY long time, and horses are VERY useful. So why does it seem that there's such a long gap between this horse-domesticating society, and the next we have evidence for? There's a lot of possible explanations for this, but I don't think I'm really qualified to speculate, so I guess I'll refrain. One thing I will point out though: in the ancient world, having exclusive control over such a technology could provide an extreme competitive advantage. There was undoubtedly a strong incentive to monopolize horse herds, as well as to keep secret the various techniques needed to care for and train them.
posted by Humanzee at 10:22 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

So is vibotronicia. The map doesn't show a lot of other things that are of no value either. Before figuring out that they're useful, they're just not on your civilization's radar.
posted by Authorized User at 10:33 AM on March 7, 2009

(I'm not a Civ player, but that seems odd. I mean, surely we were hunting horses before we'd figured out we could ride 'em, no? They're made out of meat! Meat is useful!)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2009

To look at it another way, if we knew in 1000 BC that oil was a resource, and what an important resource it is, history might have turned out slightly differently. See also: Seward's Folly.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2009

It was Ayla. She was the first cowboy.
posted by merelyglib at 8:47 PM on March 7, 2009

Not apropos but this week I learned that 牛仔褲 = cow+boy+pants = "jeans" in Mandarin.
posted by troy at 9:23 PM on March 7, 2009

I don't get it. If humanity discovered horseback riding a thousand years earlier than we thought, then... Charlemagne should have taken us to the moon, not Kennedy?
posted by Davenhill at 1:25 AM on March 8, 2009

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