Representative Chris Stewart of UT is a Mormon. He is also one of the most outspoken adversaries of wild horses. He claims they are over-populated, starving, destroying the land, and that they are merely animals that escaped domestication and now live wild on our public lands.
There have been many scientific finds, mitochondrial analysis, fossil finds, carbon dating, and a comparative analysis of the Yukon horse to modern wild horses proves that the genetic markers are so similar that the horses are unlikely to have been extinct during the 10,000 years after the Pleistocene Era.
The one fact that Chris Stewart has never addressed, and one that makes us question not only his moral compass, but also his sincerity in statements made, is that the Book of Mormon, used by the Church of Latter-day Saints, mentions horses several times. This would mean that horses never went extinct on this continent, which proves a constant evolution of Equines for 58 million years.
The Book of Mormon speaks of horses in Lamanites (Alma 18:9 – 10; 20:6), Nephites (3 Ne. 3:22). Throughout the book horses are mentioned as an indigenous species. In Ether 9:19 Jaredites had horses. 1 Nephi 18:25 horses are mentioned with other large animals. Enos 1:21 tells us that Nephites had many horses among flocks. Alma 18:9 – 10 says the Lamanite King, Lamoni had horses and chariots. 3 Nephi 6:1 says the Nephites had horses after the Gadianton Robbers. The last mention of horses in the Book of Mormon is from approximately AD 26.
Mr Stewart among many other public figures, repeat the rhetoric we hear frequently. The accepted theory that allow wild horses to be treated as some invasive, unwanted animal. That theory is that all wild horses are descended from European stock. The theory is that after the 10,000 years of extinction horses, that were mostly of Spanish and Portuguese stock, were brought during the Spanish conquistadors expedition.
As with many claims made about our wild horses, there is just no clear, evidence to support this theory. However, there is much historical evidence that would seem to point out the polar opposite of that theory. The Spanish revered the importance of the horses brought here, they needed them for war, to conquer this new world. Very meticulous records were kept as to the fate of each horse, and in no record do they believe their horses escaped and disappeared into the wild.
We also would need to consider that for them to have populated our continent, there would have to have been a stallion and mare escape at the same time, stay together and reproduce. They would have had to repeat this behavior for centuries which in itself is an unlikely occurrence.
Consideration would then have to be given to whether or not these escaped Spanish horses arrived early enough to account for horses kept by Indigenous tribes, which were documented by early European explorers. There were 4 early expeditions that brought horses, they were the expeditions of Cortes, Narvaez, de Soto, and de Coronado.
The chronicles of these expeditions make the claim that our wild horses are descended from these Spanish horses nearly impossible. Narvaez only had one surviving horse, that doesn’t work for being the creator of modern day wild horses. The other 3 conquistadors made Spanish land advances as far as Texas where they were stopped by the Plains Indians who already had horses. Given there is no explanation for how the Plains Indians got those horses, and knowing there was one Spanish horse surviving before they came to the Americas, the theory of modern horses descending from escaped Spanish Conquistadors just becomes fiction.
Mr, Stewart also contradicts some Latter-day Saint authors who mention horses in Mesoamerican artworks. Although these images are rare now and the fact that they are subjective do not in themselves provide any proof that horses were no extinct here, but must be added to the growing proof.
One such artwork mentioned is found at Chichen Itza. It is on the side of a building called the Temple of the Wall Panels. It is interpreted by Latter-day Saint scholars to be a man standing next to a horse. The carving has been dated to the 9th or 10th century AD, long after the last mention in the Book of Mormon, but definitely pre-Colombian. In the image below the wall shows erosion to some degree so the photo has an outline drawn on it to show the remaining details more clearly.
Mitochondrial-DNA analysis, of the Yukon horse bones found recently, found that the modern horse, Equus caballus, is genetically equivalent to Equus lambei. These fossil records represent the most recent Equus species in North America prior to Equus caballus. Not only is Equus caballus genetically a match to Equus lambei, but no evidence exists for the origin of Equus caballus anywhere except North America.
So the science is there to prove that today’s modern horse is at a minimum a reintroduced native species, and there is sufficient evidence to support the theory that horses never went extinct on the North American continent.
Given all of this information we have to wonder why politicians like Chris Stewart have continued to ignore the science, continued to repeat the exaggerated population claims of the Bureau of Land Management, misrepresents truth, misleads federal budget hearing committees and calls for the death of healthy wild horses. Just like the science can prove the origins of modern horse, the records of the Bureau of Land Management can prove the population growth, according to their own census, are also nothing more than myth.
There is a very simple solution to wild horse population management, but less than one percent of the Wild Horse & Burro budget is spent on it. And that is management on the range with PZP, a birth control vaccine.
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