The Ancient Equine and How (and Where) We Think It Grew

I’ve always been fascinated by very, very old things. Fossils. Prehistoric artifacts. Cave paintings and petroglyphs. It’s like reaching out across the expanse of time and touching something that was alive long before what we call history—i.e., our written past.

One of my favorite Twitter feeds is The Ice Age, curated by Jamie Woodward. It’s a succession of images and links and bits of fact, always interesting, and sometimes weirdly apposite to my life in general and this series in particular.

Last September, Prof. Woodward posted an image that made me sit up sharply.

It’s made of mammoth ivory, and is around 35,000 years old. Someone in the feed referred to it as a “stallion,” but it’s not. The neck is too refined, and the shape of the belly is quite round. It is, perhaps, a mare, and perhaps a pregnant one.

And she looks just like ...