Were Horses Extinct in the Americas?

Up until now scientists and historians have had the last word on the subject. It is curious that paleontogists say yes horses went extinct around 11,000 years ago in the Americas, yet indigenous people say they’ve always had horses. A salient question would be which group knows the most about life on this continent before Columbus? What does oral history say? And are there bones that would prove their stories’ authenticity?

I set out to write the romantic story of how horses went extinct here, then the Spanish brought them back to the Americas 12,500 years later to where the species began. As I began my digging, a new story emerged. A Lakota researcher named Yvette Running Horse Collin earned her PhD in 2017 focusing on the horses of indigenous tribes. She spent years investigating traditional oral history stories that talk about horses as a cultural underpinning of their lives. She combines oral history, paleontology, Spanish history, and linguistic cultural evidence to show the truth, that horses did not become extinct in the Americas.

What are the facts?

To be continued…

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Olé! –Rebecca



Rebecca Cuningham

24 thoughts on “Were Horses Extinct in the Americas?

  1. If someone who was here, said that they rode and had horses…what’s the question? Are they saying that the people who lived with them and rode them were liars , or just imagined that they were sitting on top of them? The had to do research to prove that the people who had the answer…actually had the answer. And we wonder why everything is insane. Well, I suppose that’s one way to get grant money. Prove what has already been proven. Maybe they can prove that women actually went west and were alive before the 1960s. That would be good. Perhaps they could start with the fact that men came from somewhere. LOLOLOLOL I can’t be the only one who thinks this is silly, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you about the burden of proof. But so far academia is dismissing scientific proof Equus continued to live here before Columbus. To be continued on Thursday! Thanks for your comments.


  2. Great post Rebecca. Love that photograph! I have always been a great fan and admirer of the Indians of North America. However, I have read much about the pre-history of the continent and horses do not appear, although being that it is accepted fact that the Indians crossed the Bering Strait, they could have come with horses from Asia…
    All the best and wishing you a great weekend,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Francisco, it is possible that horses came over the land bridge. Until all the petroglyphs and horse bones have been definitively dated by science, we won’t know. Thanks for your comments, Rebecca

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It will be interesting to know if Yvette Running Horse Collin’s palaeontology differs from the palaeontology referred to in your first paragraph. I’ve found a copy of her thesis which I’m looking forward to reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebecca, as you may remember from our blog, I have an interest in Pre-Columbian cultures in North America, so I’ll be interested to see what you find regarding the extinction of ancestral horses in the Americas. I’m a scientist, so I have a hard time ignoring the bone-hard (pun intended) data, but I’m also open to alternative interpretations. Yvette Running Horse Collin’s comprehensive study is what’s needed ,and it should be interesting.

    And BTW, thanks for the Gallivance plug on your Start Here page. All the best to you and Evan for a happy and healthy 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your message, James and Terri! I agree it is time for us to find hard data, rather than assuming the Spanish not the Indigenous people were telling the truth about the horses. There are examples of pictographs with lichen that could be studied using Running Horse Collin’s testing method, including one from Texas. You’re welcome for the nod to your excellent site. Happy Blogging and Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

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