Oldest DNA from domesticated American horse lends credence to shipwreck folklore

Feral horses have roamed freely across the island of Assateague off the coast of Maryland and Virginia for hundreds of years, but exactly how they got there has remained a mystery. In a new study, ancient DNA extracted from a 16th century cow tooth from one of Spain’s first Caribbean colonies turns out to be from a horse. Analysis of the DNA suggest that old folk tales claiming that horses were marooned on Assateague following the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon are likely more fact than fiction.

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