Study: Spotted Horse Coats Lost Luster in Middle Ages
A sunny afternoon, 900 AD, central France.
Horse seller: How about this nice leopard-spotted horse? A fine specimen.
Decked-out nobleman: Heavens, no! That coat is so old fashioned. Really! Show me a sorrel to match my red velour robes.
If you think fashion is limited to clothes and architecture, think again. A recent international genomics study has revealed that human preferences had considerable effects on the evolution of horse coat colors—especially patterned coats. Spotted horses, from paints to leopards, were mostly phased out in the Middle Ages after a strong period of popularity and proliferation from prehistoric times to the Bronze Age. But they’ve come “back into fashion” in recent centuries, leading to their own specific breeds, the authors said
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