spotted horse

Spotted horse breeds are some of today’s most well-known breeds and it turns out they have a prehistoric past.

When researchers first began studying the Dappled Horses of Pech-Merle, a 25,000-year-old cave painting in southern France depicting white horses with black spots, they believed the coloration of the horses was a fanciful decoration by a Paleolithic artist.

After all, the prehistoric equine DNA tested to that point only revealed black and bay colorations.

In 2011, however, researchers from Germany and England discovered the LP gene in DNA samples of prehistoric horses from Siberia and Eastern and Western Europe.

The LP gene is the same dominant gene that appears in today’s most well-known spotted breeds: the Appaloosa, the Knabstrupper and the Pony of the Americas (POA). This is the gene responsible for those amazing spots.

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