Remains of an extinct horse species found in Denisova cave

Excavations in the Denisova cave, Altai region of Russia, provide new surprises, as bones of a short-legged Ovodov horse, a species that went extinct 24000 years ago, were found.

Bone of Ovodov horse found in Denisova cave (by Sergey Vasilyev)

The remains of Ovodov horse were so far found at several Siberian locations. The species was scientifically described in 2009 by renowned Russian archaeologist Dr Nikolai Ovodov based on remains found in Khakassia. What is surprising, the species was not recorded in cave drawings. The horse was short-legged, small and not as slender as ordinary horses – it was small in size, comparable to a donkey or zebra.

Bone of Ovodov horse found in Denisova cave (by Sergey Vasilyev)

Researchers believe that such horses grazed in the valley of Anyui River. Hunters could see from their viewing point that a herd was approaching and successfully hunted the horses. It is possible that Denisovan man and other inhabitants of ancient Altai were hunting the Ovodov horse.

Comparison of zebra, donkey and Ovodov horse (by The Siberian Times)

The Ovodov horse could weight about 300 kg and be about 143 -145 centimetres in withers. This horse is that it belongs to the subgenus Sussemionus. Scientists believed that the representatives of Sussemionus lived between 1 million and 500000 years ago, and became extinct about 400000 years ago, but the Ovodov horse managed to survive until 24000-26000 years ago in the Altai mountains what is really surprising.

(by The Siberian Times & Sergey Vasilyev)

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