When Horses Were Wild…REALLY Wild!

Were horses latecomers to domestication? Answer our Just-for-Fun Trivia question to learn the surprising answer.

Photo by James/Adobe Stock Images

TRUE OR FALSE: The horse, now one of the most successful and widespread of earth’s tamed creatures, was one of the last major mammals to be domesticated.

T / F

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T is correct. The horse was one of the last major mammals to be domesticated, about 5,600 years ago. The first animal we humans domesticated was the wolf, which became a part of our family about 14,000 years ago. As a predator, the wolf—and his descendant, the dog—may’ve aided us in hunting.

We next tamed sheep, and by 9,000 years ago, goats, pigs, and chickens had joined the communal dwellings that spread as we began to relinquish our nomadic ways, settle down, and cultivate crops.

With what we know today about the bonding capabilities of the horse, why did it take so long for that noble beast to be domesticated? We don’t know for sure, but the flighty restlessness that made prehistoric horses difficult to hunt may at least partly account for it.

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