Horses were domesticated much earlier than previously thought, according to a team of researchers.
They found evidence suggesting that the animals were used by a culture in northern Kazakhstan 5,500 years ago.
Until now, the earliest evidence of horse riding was metal parts from harnesses dating from the Bronze Age.
Writing in Science, a team from the UK's Exeter University suggested that the community in Kazakhstan rode their horses 1,000 years earlier.
They also ate them and drank their milk, possibly as an alcoholic brew.
The researchers traced the origins of horse domestication to the Botai culture of Kazakhstan.
No wonder horses play such an important role Kazakh culture and cuisine. On a related note, Kazakh 4th grader are doing pretty well in Math, the tables' here:
Table 1. Average mathematics scores of fourth-grade students, by country: 2007
Country Average score
TIMSS scale average 500
Hong Kong SAR1 607
Chinese Taipei 576
Russian Federation 544
United States 529