Horses and Human Civilization - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 13 Old 08-15-2019, 10:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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I'm a fan of Jared Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel, which explores why European cultures dominated American and African cultures. Disease -- not just human but also animal diseases play an enormous role in history. We like to think it is technology (or innate superiority, or God's will), not the effects of new diseases on unexposed populations, but the facts are there.

All the horse power in world won't matter if you're all dying of the measles.

There's another book I think called The Horse The Wheel and Language which among other things reviews the earliest domestications of the horse in Eurasia. Interesting things I learned from that book included that the invention of the horse collar revolutionized the use of the horse as a draft animal (can't use a ox yoke on a horse, and a horse can't pull much with a chest strap, it cuts off his breathing). And, the invention of the stirrup revolutionized horseback warfare.
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-16-2019, 09:24 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
I just watched a little PBS video PBS video on the evolution of horses, and ended up scrolling down to the comments.

Yes, I know.

In any case, one commenter started to think about the fact that horses became extinct in North America, but not before migrating to the Eurasian continent. The commenter then proceeded to contemplate the turn of History if the North American aborigines had got the idea to domesticate the horse instead of the Kazakhs. Just imagine intellectual powerhouses like the Mayas, Aztecs with the productivity boost that the horse afforded to Eurasian civilizations.

When you see your horse tonight, remember its ancestors may well be the reason we're not the ones living on a reservation.
Horses didn't actually boost productivity all that much compared with such giant breakthroughs as agriculture (2000 years before horse domestication) and then the Industrial Revolution. Depending on the soil, oxen plow just as well. What they did do is give mobility to warriors, in treeless geographical areas -- the steppes and plains of dry-temperate northern hemisphere climates.They mostly facilitated war.

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post #13 of 13 Old 08-16-2019, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Wasn't the ancient horse in question named something like "Zipper" and the girls mother was a scientist who helped her cover up her wild pony to researchers? It was quite good. I think I checked it out from the library a number of times, back when they put little pictures on the spines of the topic (in this case a horse head) and I would pick up as many as I was allowed to take.

A really good book for thinking about alternative histories is Past-watch" by Orson Scott Card, and it explores a Mayan/ Aztec driven timeline. It was quite good.

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