Speaking of madness, please hold your horses.

The central Asian horse of the free-roaming prakushi is often referred to as the last wild horse, the only live horse that has never been domesticated. But a new genetic analysis of ancient horse bones suggests that these horses, after all, have a tame ancestor that makes them wild, not wild.

These findings also reveal the idea that these domesticated ancestors – known as botai – were promoted to all other modern horses. The researchers reported in the February 22 issue of online science that the ancestors of today’s domesticated horses became mysterious.

The earliest known domesticated horses were the ancient botai people in northern kazakhstan (SN: 28 March 2009, p. 15). The ruins of the botai site, dating back about 5,500 years, are littered with remnants of horse and milk residue, indicating that the animals provide transportation and food.

In order to understand botha horses and horse today, the relationship between the natural history museum of Denmark Copenhagen evolutionary geneticists ludovic’s Orlando, and colleagues analyzed across Europe and Asia over the past 5000 years or so the DNA of 88 horses. Less than 3 per cent of the horses of the past 4,000 years have shown that different and unknown horses have created today’s population. The study found that the botai ma was a direct ancestor of the pushi antelope.

Fishing has left a huge footprint on the earth. Researchers reported in the February 23 issue of the journal science that the oceans cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface in 2016, with industrial fishing taking place at 55 percent of the area. By comparison, only 34 percent of the earth’s land is used for agriculture or herding.

The previous effort to quantify global fishing relied on a large number of data from electronic monitoring systems, logs and shipboard observers from ships. But for the past 15 years, most commercial ships have been equipped with an automatic identification system (AIS) transceiver, a tracking system designed to help ships avoid collisions.

The team found that most of the fishing activity was concentrated in countries’ exclusive economic zones – about 370 kilometers off the coast of a country – and some hot spots off the high seas. These hotspots include the nutrient-rich upwelling areas of the North-East Atlantic and South America and west Africa.

Astonishingly, five countries — China, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea — account for nearly 85 per cent of fishing on the high seas, outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Tracking the fishing footprint of space and time can help guide Marine conservation and international conservation efforts, the researchers said. This may be particularly important in a period of rapid change due to rising ocean temperatures and increased human activity on the high seas.

Photo by Jeeray TANG on Unsplash

 


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