Bones of a female horse were found in Lehi, Utah in 2018. The bones were initially thought to be 16,000 years old and went back to the last ice age … but the reality is very different. The bones are no more than 340 years old, according to a new study.
After analyzing the horse’s remains, scientists realized that the hoofed beast was actually a domestic horse lived much more recently. The new findings suggest that this horse, which died when it was 12, was domestic, dating back to the post-Colombian period, after the Spanish introduced the domestic horse (Equus caballus) to the Americas starting in the 16th century.
This mare, called Lehi, was likely bred, cared for and ridden by indigenous peoples living in what is now Utah, possibly by a member of the Ute or Shoshone communities. Why then were the mare’s remains initially dated to 16,000 years ago? Because the natives buried the creature in a pit surrounded by lake sediments dating back to 14,000-16,000 years ago.
Since the radiocarbon sample did not give an exact result, “we can only say that this horse died sometime after 1680“probably before the European settlers moved permanently to the Salt Lake region during the mid-19th century, according to William Taylor, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado.