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The horse in late Pleistocene and Holocene Britain

Kaagan, L.M.; (2000) The horse in late Pleistocene and Holocene Britain. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Until now, the horse was one of the few members of the British Late Pleistocene and Holocene fauna which had yet to be fully investigated. In this thesis, chronological, palaeoecological and morphological data based on direct investigations of British and European fossil and sub-fossil horses are presented. The time-frame encompasses the latest certain wild horses in Britain and continental Europe through to the early diversification of domestic types, and thus spans the interval from c. 15,000-2,000 years before present (BP). The gazetteers presented are the result of a thorough survey and intensive study of all relevant British (as well as selected continental) collections of fossil and sub-fossil horse material. Furthermore, the incorporation into this project of a radiocarbon accelerator dating programme has provided 45 new, direct horse dates from 31 British/Irish sites. A systematic review of all new and previously obtained dates reveals a complex pattern of chronological and geographical distribution for horses during the study interval. These data are interpreted with reference to known climatic and environmental events which are detailed. Further investigations are presented which reveal the ecological reactions of wild horses to underlying environmental factors such as climate change and vegetational succession. Questions of body size variability as well as taxonomic and relationship issues are addressed by means of a detailed morphological investigation. Cranial and postcranial measurements are employed to expose variation and diversification of size and form among wild and domestic animals of three key periods: Mid-Devensian, Late Glacial/early Post Glacial, middle to later Post Glacial. In addition, body size comparisons are made between British and continental horses for each episode. Finally, there is discussion of alternative ways of revealing relationships between ancient and modern horses. In particular, molecular evidence is reviewed with the aim of assessing its value to taxonomic, morphological and chronological studies

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The horse in late Pleistocene and Holocene Britain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1318059
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