Modern Zebras and Ancient Horses

Sep 2012
Tarkington, Texas
I think our ancestors found all of the equus breeds tasty. Some were valued for their milk. Like already mentioned, some are more docile around humans. I would expect these Humans to keep these individuals around while they ate the more feral ones. The wild equus also declined as humans took over more and more of the preferred habitat of the equus feral breeds.



Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
Does this mean that never once in the history of man has a przewalskis horse been domesticated?

Or that one could of been, but it was not put into the wild with the others in order to breed the lineage into one of a feral state?
It was previously thought that the Przewalski's horse may have been the last truly "wild" horse, with no history of domestication, but recent DNA research has now confirmed that they are descended from ancient domestic stock that went feral.

In short they're like the American Mustangs or Australian Brumbies, just with a longer history of being feral.

Wild Horses Are Extinct and May Have Died Out Thousands of Years Ago

That horses have more docile dispositions than Zebra is likely due to that history of domestication and selective breeding by humans for tameness.
Mar 2017

while they are close enough to have fertile offspring, Przewalski’s horses and domestic horses have a different number of chromosomes (66 for the former, compared with 64). As for Zebras, people tend to forget that donkeys were domesticated, onager and kiang (types of asses) were also present and plenty of evidence exists for early use of onager prior to use of horses. it's much more likely that the Tarpan, which became extinct in historic times was an ancient horse.

the big difference is that a zebra is not as big as a horse. it's more like a big donkey. The common plains zebra is about 1.2–1.3 m (47–51 in) at the shoulder with a body ranging from 2–2.6 m (6.6–8.5 ft) long with a 0.5 m (20 in) tail. It can weigh up to 350 kg (770 lb), males being slightly bigger than females. Grévy's zebra is considerably larger, while the mountain zebra is somewhat smaller.[The Welsh Mountain Pony may not exceed 12.2 hands (50 inches, 127 cm) in the US[15] or 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm) in the United Kingdom). The Tarpan, in comparison,started at about 13 and 13.2 hands tall.
This is a cladogram (supposed to be the "new" family tree thing). Note that Przewalski & Caballus (modern horse) are the same thing.
Mar 2017
This is an old chesnut and often comes up when someone wonders why there was never a Zulu Cavalry or chariot army.
A Zebra may be of the horse family, but it ain't a horse. As modern humans and Zebra have shared the same space for nigh on 75,000 years one may wonder why the locals never thought of it--maybe they did, but the zebra was never domesticated, nor was the African Elephant, nor Cape Buffalo, nor Jackals or African wild dogs even though their cousins were in Eurasia----that's because they are WILD animals and while any and all can appear tame when brought up with humans--they can revert to an aggressive wild state in a flash, as many people who have kept wild animals as pets (They was a woman in Limpopo who brought up a baby hippo a few years ago--they even made a documentary about her, sure enough--it got irritated one day and bit her in two). Zebra, especially males, can be quite violent, especially if their females are threatened (they run a harem) and females also have a hierachy with an "alpha" who will attack the junior females if they get out of line.

Why most African animals cannot be fully tamed is a good subject for speculation, maybe they spent too long as prey to humans and others or maybe no one has had the patience to spent a thousand years of trial an error to make them docile.
Except for lions, cheetahs, and baboons, maybe.

Egyptians liked cheetahs so much, I read that every cheetah on the African continent is related specifically due to Egyptian breeding.

"They are commonly known to have been kept as pets, and mummified remains of these creatures have been discovered by archaeologists. In addition, baboons (or monkeys) have also been shown in Egyptian art to be participating in various human activities, including dancing and playing musical instruments, picking fruit, making wine and beer, and even catching criminals

Baboons?! What the HELL were they thinking? Remember the first successful face transplant ... for a woman who was savaged by the chimp she raised from a baby? I've *SEEN* angry baboons on nature films. Once apes figure out they're stronger than you, the game can change quite dramatically.
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Mar 2017
WHOAH!!! This is from Turkey.

I feel obligated to point out there are no zebras in Turkey.