If you ever owned one of these books, you likely grew up in the USA. Which means you also likely thought, because of all those “cowboy and Indian” movies you watched, that horses were native to North America. That may sound like a big logical leap, but there is a point. Today, a review two old posts on this site helped clear up the history of horses in North America and it has to do with the kind of pre-history that captivated any kid who loved those books above.
After this was posted September 30, 2012 one member of our community (me) who grew up reading all the books above, and seeing all those “Western” movies, missed the opportunity to click through and listen to it. However, I had been fascinated to learn from this post and then from the amazing book it highlighted, the “truth” about horses in North America.
By reading the 1493 post and not the post two weeks later, it was possible to learn one surprising fact and fail to learn an equally important contradictory fact. Having assumed for an entire lifetime that “Indians” had been master horsemen for time immemorial, the earlier post revealed the shocking “truth” that horses were an Old World animal introduced to the New World when colonial settlers arrived in North America.
Cool news. Learned a bit late in life, but that’s okay. We are a learning species. And so, now finally listening to that Talk Of The Nation podcast…here is the newer, bigger fact from the transcript of that podcast:
…And that’s right – horses evolved here in the grasslands of North America before going extinct here also. But they weren’t alone. There were a lot of unusual creatures roaming around North America during the Ice Age, ones you don’t hear much about, as much as the mammoths and the saber-toothed cats.
Did you know that camels lived here too, alongside supersized bison, American lions that are bigger than the African lions, and cheetahs. And this is safari-quality stuff. But you’d have to be a caveman to have gone on safari in those days because many of those large beasts disappeared around 10,000 years ago, just as humans were entering upon the scene.
Were they hunted to extinction? Where did they go? Killed off by disease? Or could the culprit have been then climate change also? And why did most of the large mammals die out where the small ones lived on to modern-day time? Just a few of the mysteries about our North American fauna, and that’s what we’ll be talking about for the rest of the hour…
By the way, if you had those books you will perhaps recall reading them under the covers with a flashlight in bed late at night, imagining the thrill of encountering a saber-tooth tiger. Words of wisdom: listen to that podcast so you finally get your facts straight.