Author Topic: Oldest DNA from domesticated American horse lends credence to shipwreck folklore  (Read 588 times)

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Offline Kamaji

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Oldest DNA from domesticated American horse lends credence to shipwreck folklore

Date: July 27, 2022
Source: Florida Museum of Natural History
Summary: Feral horses have roamed freely across the island of Assateague off the coast of Maryland and Virginia for hundreds of years, but exactly how they got there has remained a mystery. In a new study, ancient DNA extracted from a 16th century cow tooth from one of Spain's first Caribbean colonies turns out to be from a horse. Analysis of the DNA suggest that old folk tales claiming that horses were marooned on Assateague following the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon are likely more fact than fiction.

An abandoned Caribbean colony unearthed centuries after it had been forgotten and a case of mistaken identity in the archaeological record have conspired to rewrite the history of a barrier island off the Virginia and Maryland coasts.

These seemingly unrelated threads were woven together when Nicolas Delsol, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History, set out to analyze ancient DNA recovered from cow bones found in archaeological sites. Delsol wanted to understand how cattle were domesticated in the Americas, and the genetic information preserved in centuries-old teeth held the answer. But they also held a surprise.

"It was a serendipitous finding," he said. "I was sequencing mitochondrial DNA from fossil cow teeth for my Ph.D. and realized something was very different with one of the specimens when I analyzed the sequences."

That's because the specimen in question, a fragment of an adult molar, wasn't a cow tooth at all but instead once belonged to a horse. According to a study published this Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, the DNA obtained from the tooth is also the oldest ever sequenced for a domesticated horse from the Americas. The tooth was excavated from one of Spain's first colonized settlements. Located on the island of Hispaniola, the town of Puerto Real was established in 1507 and served for decades as the last port of call for ships sailing from the Caribbean. But rampant piracy and the rise of illegal trade in the 16th century forced the Spanish to consolidate their power elsewhere on the island, and in 1578, residents were ordered to evacuate Puerto Real. The abandoned town was destroyed the following year by Spanish officials.

The remnants of the once-bustling port were inadvertently rediscovered by a medical missionary named William Hodges in 1975. Archaeological excavations of the site led by Florida Museum distinguished research curator Kathleen Deagan were carried out between 1979 and 1990.

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Source:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/07/220727141409.htm

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Oldest DNA from domesticated American horse lends credence to shipwreck folklore

Date: July 27, 2022
Source: Florida Museum of Natural History
Summary: Feral horses have roamed freely across the island of Assateague off the coast of Maryland and Virginia for hundreds of years, but exactly how they got there has remained a mystery. In a new study, ancient DNA extracted from a 16th century cow tooth from one of Spain's first Caribbean colonies turns out to be from a horse. Analysis of the DNA suggest that old folk tales claiming that horses were marooned on Assateague following the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon are likely more fact than fiction.

An abandoned Caribbean colony unearthed centuries after it had been forgotten and a case of mistaken identity in the archaeological record have conspired to rewrite the history of a barrier island off the Virginia and Maryland coasts.

 

@Kamaji

You mean to tell me the horses didn't swim across the Atlantic Ocean???

Who do you expect to believe that?
Anyone who isn't paranoid in 2021 just isn't thinking clearly!