Przewalski's horse

(redirected from Przewalski's horses)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Przewalski's horse

(pshəväl`skēz), wild horsehorse,
hoofed, herbivorous mammal now represented by a single extant genus, Equus. The term horse commonly refers only to the domestic Equus caballus and to the wild Przewalski's horse.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of Asia, Equus przewalski, E. ferus przewalski, or E. caballus przewalski, the only extant wild horse that, in the purebred state, is not descended from the domestic horse. Smaller than most domestic horses, it has a large head and bulging forehead. It is dun-colored, with an upright crest of dark hair on its head and neck, a dark stripe along the backbone, and a dark, plumed tail. The animal's former range probably extended from W Mongolia to N Xinjiang, China.

Przewalski's horse can interbreed with the domestic horse, and some authorities regard it as a subspecies of the domestic horse (E. caballus), although it has a different number of chromosomes. Because interbreeding with Mongol horses may have begun centuries ago, it is possible that even the original specimens of Przewalski's horse to be described were actually of mixed descent.

The horse was first recognized as a separate species by Nikolai Mikhailovich PrzhevalskyPrzhevalsky, Nikolai Mikhailovich
, 1839–88, Russian geographer and explorer in central and E Asia. He made five major expeditions—one to the Ussuri area in the Russian Far East (1867–68) and four to Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet (1870–85).
..... Click the link for more information.
, a Russian explorer and geographer, in the 1870s. In the 1960s the horse became extinct in the wild, largely due to competition with domestic livestock for grazing land and water and to hunting for horsemeat, but many specimens survived in zoos, where they breed well. Since 1992 the horse has been reintroduced with some success to several locations in Mongolia and China, using animals originally bred in European zoos.

Tarpan is the name for members of another race of the same species, E. ferus gmelini or E. caballus gmelini, which formerly ranged over the steppes of E Europe and W Asia, but has been extinct since the last century. Attempts have been made to breed back a tarpanlike horse from domestic horses believed to have been interbred with tarpans.

Wild horses are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, family Equidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Boyd (1998) observed that after Przewalski's horses were released into an enclosure, moving time increased; and our results demonstrated the same.We also found that after the Przewalski's horses entered an unfamiliar environment, such as the enclosure, that sharp decreases in standing, stand resting, and drinking were observed.
The first Przewalski's horses to be seen in Wales arrived at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay, in 1968.
The research analyzed the family tree of a type of horse called a Przewalski's horse that has long been thought to be the only remaining wild horse group in the world, Nat Geo reported.
The Przewalski's horse bears the name of a Russian explorer of Polish origin, Nikolay Przewalski, who discovered in Mongolia and described the species in the 19th century.
Similar results were also found for Przewalski's horse living in a similar environment (Zheng et al., 2001; Souris et al.
2006: Capture and anesthesia of wild Mongolian equids--the Przewalski's horse (E.ferus przewalskii) and khulan (E.
Despite stemming from only 13 or 14 animals in zoo breeding programs, Przewalski's horses have retained more genetic diversity than the domestic horse breeds the team examined.
China and Mongolia are the only two countries that have successively released Przewalski's horses into the wild.
In the 20th century, hunting brought Przewalski's horses to the verge of extinction.
Still in the planning stages is a fifth major exhibit, the Siberian Steppes, for the endangered Przewalski's horses, the Siberian saiga, and other species from that region.
Like many other rare animals, the small wild herds of Przewalski's horses began to disappear.
Now, there are enough Przewalski's horses to reintroduce herds into their native habitats.