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Utah’s “Lehi Horse” Remains Analyzed

Monday, February 8, 2021

Utah Lehi HorseBOULDER, COLORADO—According to a statement released by the University of Colorado at Boulder, archaeologist William Taylor and his colleagues have conducted a new study of the so-called “Lehi horse,” a pony-sized skeleton discovered in north-central Utah in 2018. It had been previously thought that the animal lived during the last Ice Age, but radiocarbon dating showed the horse lived sometime after the late seventeenth century. The remains are now thought to have rested on Ice Age sediments because the horse's caretakers, perhaps members of the region’s Ute or Shoshone communities, buried them deep in the sands near Utah Lake. DNA analysis revealed the animal was a mare. Examination of the bones revealed she was about 12 years old at the time of death, and had fractures in her vertebrae that often occur in horses ridden without a saddle. Arthritis in several limbs may have left her lame and in need of care. The research team members suggest that other horse remains in museum collections could be misdated. For more on the relationship between horses and humans, go to "The Story of the Horse."    

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