Image Credit: Science Magazine; The Bridgeman Art Library/Getty Images; Thomas Hackmann (insert). 25,000 year old cave paintings in Spain.
Until now, scientists thought that the spotted horses depicted in ancient cave paintings, like the image above, were works of imagination and that this leopard pattern did not exist until horses were domesticated about 5000 years ago (inset). Researchers have now discovered that the spotted phenotype did in fact exist when the cave paintings were created. This means that the artists were indeed depicting real-life and not fantastical creatures.
-M Pruvosta, R Bellonec, N Beneckeb, E Sandoval-Castellanosd, M Cieslaka, T Kuznetsovae, A Morales-Muñizf, T O’Connorg, M Reissmannh, M Hofreiteri, A Ludwiga. Genotypes of predomestic horses match phenotypes painted in Paleolithic works of cave art. PNAS. Epub ahead of print.