Segments in this Video

Early Horses (03:18)


Horses are closely tied to the rise of human civilization. Paleontologists have traced modern horses back to small dawn horses that roamed Earth 55 million years ago.

Horses and Early Humans (07:56)

Stone age hunters targeted horses because they provided quantities of meat with little danger. The Botai in the Eurasian grasslands were most likely the first to ride horses. Horse fossils show wear on the teeth from bits.

Evidence of First Riders (07:52)

The first depictions of humans riding horses came 1,500 years after the Botai. Archaeologists work in a Botai village to find further evidence of horse riding and domestication.

Experience of First Riders (06:07)

Scientists speculate the Botai started with the calmest horses and built their herd from there. They increased herds of other grassland animals and expanded trading areas. Archaeologists hope to use genetics technology on a Botai skeleton.

Domesticated Horses (02:19)

Archaeologists study the skeletons of Botai horses to see if modern horses are their descendants. Though their DNA is not found in domesticated horses, it is found in Przewalski's horses.

Bronze Age Riders (06:33)

The Yamnaya were the first to utilize horses and carts; horses and weapons gave them an advantage when fighting other tribes. Some historians believe the Yamnaya expanded through most of Europe and Asia, and began to dominate the language and culture.

Yamnaya Dominance (08:15)

There is little evidence the Yamnaya people overtook cultures through violence. Danish geneticists analyzed samples from throughout Eurasia and found large percentages of Europeans and Southern Asians have Yamnaya genes. Experts believe a large section of the population died from a plague-like epidemic.

Yamnaya Integration (07:22)

The Yamnaya who survived the plague developed an immunity. Yamnaya women married men of conquered groups and combined cultures. Horses continued to be important for battle and transportation.

Credits: First Horse Warriors (00:21)

Credits: First Horse Warriors

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First Horse Warriors

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Horse riding played a key role in human expansion and civilization. But when and how did people first master these animals? Scientists use archeology and genetics to uncover clues about the first horse riders and how they shaped the world.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL188619

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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