Published: Nov. 23, 2020

In an article in the New York Times, A Record of Horseback Riding, Written in Bone and Teeth, written by Katherine Kornei, research by William Taylor is featured. 

Quoting the article, it says:

The advent of horseback riding transformed our ancestors’ lives, irrevocably changing how they migrated, fought wars and traded. Now, researchers have found the oldest direct evidence of horseback riding in China, which could help unlock the historical timeline of how the civilization was affected by a newfound ability to get around on four legs.

While neighboring civilizations — such as those in the area now known as Mongolia — had been riding since roughly 1200 B.C., the timing and details of the rise of horsemanship in China have long remained murky, said William Taylor, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in Boulder.

But the new study to which he contributed, published last month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that mounted equestrianism in China goes back as far as 350 B.C. That is consistent with the belief that horseback riding enhanced Chinese military might and contributed to the formation of the first unified empire during the Qin dynasty in the 3rd century B.C., and also helped catalyze the Silk Road trading route through China.

Dr. Taylor and his colleagues, led by Yue Li and Jian Ma of Northwest University in Xi’an, China, analyzed eight largely intact horse skeletons roughly 2,400 years old excavated in northwestern China. Having access to the animals’ entire bodies was a boon, Dr. Taylor said. “Usually we’re working with bits and pieces.” 

Read the full article here.