Thursday, 29 October 2020

Only Yesterday,

I made a post about a unusual breed of horse,

called the Bashkir Curlies, and then today I come across this one, the indigenous Yakutian horse, photograph, Maarten Takens/Flickr, the winter temperatures in Russia’s northern region of Yakutia can drop under a staggering -70 degrees Celsius, making it impossible for humans to stay outside for long periods of time, but for the Yakutian horse of this region, such extreme temperatures are comfortable enough to spend days and nights in the open,

Yakutia, or the Saha Republic, in the Russian Far-East, routinely sees winter temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius, but in places like Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon, it can sometimes drop to under -70 degrees Celsius. Even the most reliable car will not start in these conditions, but luckily locals can always rely on their horses when they need to move around or haul stuff, they are also among the most resilient of horses, being able to actively work for up to 25-27 years, whereas the general average for horses is 20 years,

 but here is the really amazing thing about them, scientists analyzed the breed’s genome and excluded the possibility that the Yakutian horses descended from the horses that existed in Yakutia in ancient times. Instead they found that it is related to the Mongolian, Fjord and Icelandic horses, with the Mongolian horses their most likely ancestors, but what really left scientists flabbergasted was the short time the Yakutian horse breed needed to adapt to the sharp climate of the Saha Republic, approximately 800 years, “This is blink-of-an-eye evolution,” says Doug Antczak, a veterinarian and equine scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “What really captures peoples’ imaginations from this research is the evidence for rapid adaption to the environment – in this case a cold, harsh, dry environment.” how the horses were able to evolve so rapidly – only about a hundred generations for horses – remains a mystery, but scientists say that it is proof of how fast evolution can occur sometimes, Yakutian horses can only be found in Russia’s Saha Republic, as the warm climate of the more southern regions does not suit them at all. They remain an important part of life in one of the world’s most harshest environment, what an amazing animal.

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