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So, in addition to the references already in the article, I would propose to add the following.


  • Amaral, Anthony, (1977), Mustang: Life and Legends of Nevada's Wild Horses, Reno: University of Nevada Press.
  • Lynghaug, Fran, (2009) The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide Minneapolis: Voyageur Press.
  • Morin, Paula, (2006) Honest Horses: Wild Horses in the Great Basin Reno and Las Vegas, University of Nevada Press.
  • Roe, Frank Gilbert, (1955) The Indian and the Horse Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, Fourth printing, 1974.
  • Ryden, Hope, (1970), America's Last Wild Horses, E. P. Dutton. Reprinted with Revisions, E. P. Dutton, 1978.
  • Wyman, Walker D., (1945) The Wild Horse of the West, University of Nebraska Press. Reprinted, Bison Books, 1968.
  • Young, James A. and Sparks, B. Abbott (1985) Cattle in the Cold Desert Logan, Utah State University Press, Expanded Edition printed, Reno, University of Nevada Press, 1992.Lynn Wysong (talk) 23:20, 19 March 2015 (UTC)


Does anyone know of any specific problems with these sources? If they are "old", does anyone know of any specific new information that would necessarily preclude them? Please make a reasoned case for why the new information invalidates the old source.Lynn Wysong (talk) 23:20, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

  • We add sources when we have footnotes to attach to them. You don't just add a random "here are more sources" list to an article that is going to be improved to the GA standard; These may be fine for footnoting certain information, but it's all about context. Propose a paragraph where each may be added; for example, can we agree on wording for a Taylor Grazing Act paragraph? Montanabw(talk) 04:10, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
If your concern is a TGA paragraph, go ahead and propose one. In the meantime, if anyone know of a problem with any of the sources, please speak out.Lynn Wysong (talk) 06:33, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Maybe I should say, these sources as a Bibliography, like here: Donner Party. Because, really, what are called "notes" on the Mustang page are "citations".Lynn Wysong (talk) 17:11, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Quite some time ago, the active editors of the horse breed articles decided to do "Notes" and "Sources" instead of "Footnotes" and "Bibliography" - same diff, whatever the headings are is not a huge deal to me, though consistency is nice. But you are missing my point: We don't need a random laundry list of "further reading" at this point - read WP:ELNO which is also applicable to books; things that are potential footnoted sources should become sources. You don't understand how to edit wikipedia yet and I really wish you'd just listen to me instead of creating all this worthless drama. Montanabw(talk) 20:03, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, but my experience with you is that I'm much better off reading wiki policy myself than "listening" to what you tell me.Lynn Wysong (talk) 20:38, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
I see no evidence that you've read a thing; you are still insisting on the same nonsense you were a month ago. Montanabw(talk) 00:13, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I did propose a TGA paragraph, over in your sandbox, you didn't agree with what I proposed and refused to collaborate, in fact, I believe you kicked me out of your userspace now so I can't discuss anything further there even if I wanted to. So I'm not going to beat my head against the wall. It's really long past time for you to learn how to collaborate; I'm not going to bid against myself here. Propose your own paragraphs - but keep it short, simple, and be willing to do it properly and collaborate. Montanabw(talk) 02:25, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • As to "problem with any of these sources" the problem is that it all depends on how there are to be used: What you fail to understand here is that for wikipedia, each item added to an article needs to be sourced to a reliable source with neither copy and paste, close paraphrasing, synthesis or original research. So a blanket "are these sources OK?" Is not a helpful question; each source may be good for some things, but not for others, it's going to depend on the context. We can't say that source foo is "OK," it depends on how it is used. Montanabw(talk) 02:25, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • So, as a "further reading" list, some of the above sources have only a page or two to do with Mustangs; hence they may be fine as a specific footnote for something in the article, but they are silly to have as a "further reading" list. (See WP:ELNO) Other sources that are entirely about Mustangs (such as Hope Ryden) may be fine in a "further reading" list, but a) that book is already there (and you were complaining about it not being a good source a couple weeks ago, so could you kindly make up your mind?) plus b) if it becomes a source, then there is no need to include it as a "further reading" item; that's redundant and c) Some sources, such as Ryden, may be a RS for some things, but not a RS for others, it all depends on the context - hence it is best to use these as footnotes to article body text. Montanabw(talk) 02:25, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
Okay, how about we take out Lynghaug, and put in McKnight? He wrote a great article that you can read by making a JSTOR account, which is free. Roe and Wyman are also debatable, not because they isn't a reliable sources, but they would only be minimally referenced. As far as Ryden, yes, she is not as reliable a source as most others, but since she is so well known, I still think she is a viable source, as long as her inaccuracies are explained.Lynn Wysong (talk) 13:39, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  • No "further reading" list. We need to work reliable sources in as footnotes and citations. Each source will stand on what it footnotes. You can't make a blanket statement that Foo is always and forevermore a reliable source for everything it contains. Things like Lynghaug or may be a best-available RS for a limited bit of info even if not 100% RS for everything. Montanabw(talk) 20:28, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh, sorry, didn't realize you were talking about a "furthur reading" list. That wasn't what I was talking about, so I guess all the previous discussion was for naught. What about the sources as references?Lynn Wysong (talk) 01:06, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Add category?[edit]

I actually like this[edit]

"New Source"[edit]

I'm taking a sabbatical from editing for a while to finish getting my research paper ready for submittal. In the meantime, I found an online copy of another good source. Proceedings National Wild Horse Forum April 4-7-1977. Lynn Wysong (talk) 15:06, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Thank you. If your article is accepted and published, let us know. Per WP:RS it might contain something that could be added here. I also think it's cool that you are writing for RL publication. I've had two things published that were inspired by the work I did on-wiki. Montanabw(talk) 17:00, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Mustang is not a breed[edit]

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That all sounds fine and dandy, but the average reader (including knowledgeable equestrians) do not equate DNA analyses when they refer to "wild mustangs." As long as the ubiquitous terminology is defined in this article in a way the general populace can understand, there is no problem. WP is not a scientific journal. To most people "wild" means "untamed". The term "wild mustangs" is ubiquitous, therefore acceptable in defining the "untamed" or "feral" populations of mustangs per WP:PAG. Let's not make this complicated or controversial. It's easy enough to provide the explanation which is what encyclopedias are supposed to do. Atsme☎️📧 22:50, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

The continuing reverts re: the lead[edit]

I find it rather disappointing that proper phrasing of the lead is being reverted for reasons that are not substantive. Instead of reverting, can we please discuss it here first? Atsme ☎️ 📧 22:57, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Moved from my talk page: Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:09, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
“Because” is a subordinating conjunction, which another reason I changed that segment of the lead. Atsme ☎️ 📧 21:38, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
I have just no idea what that has to do with the cost of cod. But thanks for (finally) starting a discussion, Atsme; I can't imagine why you didn't do so straight away.
To the point: I suggest removing all the stuff about wild horses from the lead. As Ealdgyth said in an edit summary, "they are feral, not wild. No matter what the congressional act is called, all mustangs are descended from domesticated horses, and thus are feral not wild"; that sums it up. The mistake in the name of the act could be covered in an explanatory (foot)note. It could suitably read "No matter what the congressional act is called, all mustangs are descended from domesticated horses, and thus are feral not wild". Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:09, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
No, because doing so would not be accurate. Please read the science because on WP, that is what prevails. What you are edit warring over now is semantics. See the following - [7] The wild horse in the United States is generally labeled non-native by most federal and state agencies dealing with wildlife management, whose legal mandate is usually to protect native wildlife and prevent non-native species from having ecologically harmful effects. But the two key elements for defining an animal as a native species are where it originated and whether or not it coevolved with its habitat. E. caballus can lay claim to doing both in North America. So a good argument can be made that it, too, should enjoy protection as a form of native wildlife." I will have more RS to back it up in the next day or so. I recommend collaboration to get the article right in lieu of the tedious process of DR. I hope you will agree. Atsme ☎️ 📧 23:34, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
Atsme, this is not science, it's a opinion piece/blog post on an e-commerce site. Something like doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030241 is science, and raises some interesting questions. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 11:40, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Justlettersandnumbers - I didn't intend for that link to be used in the article and apologize if I left that impression. I used that particular article because it was handy, easy to read, and included references to RS. I apologize for not getting back to this in the "day or so" I mentioned above - the Taj Mahal and a few other issues derailed me - but I still have intentions to conduct further research and collaborate with the editors who have been working here. It is indeed an interesting topic especially for those of us who have been involved with horses most of our lives. I don't consider my interest in mustangs a COI because I no longer breed/raise horses but I do own a boarding facility which comprises a significant part of my ranch in Texas. Just wanted to make that known. Again, thank you for the reference. Atsme ☎️ 📧 12:15, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Last month the drama was about them NOT being wild horses. The article quite thoroughly goes over the "reintroduced extinct species" argument and it's in there. The article you linked, is not adequate science, per what JLAN said. Montanabw(talk) 05:02, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Well, if you'll read my response to JLAN, I explained why I grabbed that particular source. No need to keep repeating it. Atsme ☎️ 📧 09:56, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Livescience has a tendency to "report" on things that are pretty close to sensationalism, or at least, a bit to cutting edge for wiki. The question of the horse in post 1492 America is tricky. While it's clear that the Brumby was a wholly introduced species to Australia, the ancestral horse in North America was well-established - but it DID become extinct. So how a related subspecies fits into the question of fauna "native" to an ecosystem is a tricky one and given the wikipedia rules of WP:V, WP:OR and WP:SYNTH, it's one we probably can't answer here. Montanabw(talk) 18:41, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
There seem to be three separate questions here: my answers are:
  • Is it a wild horse? No, it isn't, it descends from animals that were domesticated for thousands of years (the Livescience page asks how it is different from Przewalki's Horse; same answer); should be covered in an explanatory note
  • Is it a native species? Only by the most specious of arguments; but people are making that argument, so it should be in the article
  • Does it matter here what kind of conjunction "because" is? Not to me. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 19:34, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That all sounds fine and dandy, but the average reader (including knowledgeable equestrians) do not equate DNA analyses when they refer to "wild mustangs", much less the use of the word "wild". As long as the ubiquitous terminology is defined in this article in a way the general populace can understand, there is no problem. WP is not a scientific journal. To most people "wild" means "untamed". The term "wild mustangs" is ubiquitous, therefore acceptable in defining the "untamed" or "feral" populations of mustangs per WP:PAG. Let's not make this complicated or controversial. It's easy enough to provide the explanation which is what encyclopedias are supposed to do. Atsme☎️📧 22:54, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

  • We do not dumb down wikipedia to pander to popular sentiment. Just like a schizophrenic is NOT a multiple personality, no matter that "most people" confuse the two, likewise, we do not call untamed feral animals "wild" where they are not biologically so. "Knowledgeable equestrians" all know Mustangs are feral animals and that the only true "wild" extant horse is the Przewalski's horse. (Romantic fools, on the other hand, like the wild horsie thing. Sigh...) Further, Mustangs are also not all untamed, there are also many adopted off the BLM, there are some that are part of clear landrace breeds and a few , notably the Spanish Mustang are established standardized breeds. This article just a month ago had drama about how these horses aren't wild and that we had too much pro-wild POV, now you show up arguing the opposite. Must mean this article is pretty darn NPOV because it pisses off everyone. Montanabw(talk) 17:11, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Schizophrenic is ubiquitous. I believe it was Dirty Harry who made it that way. <grin> I'm not here to piss anyone off, and I'm not saying to dumb anything down. I'm saying don't assume. Actually it's not me saying it because it's written unambiguously in WP:What Wikipedia is not A Wikipedia article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. Introductory language in the lead (and also maybe the initial sections) of the article should be written in plain terms and concepts that can be understood by any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge in the given field before advancing to more detailed explanations of the topic. While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text. So if 90% (guestimate) of the articles and books use "wild", that is what the average reader will relate to first, and then once they're hooked, no holds barred. Horses (and the equine industry) are well within my area of expertise as so is writing so don't be concerned about me messing anything up. Regardless, I'm going to lay this aside for the time being because my main computer blew a graphic's card this morning and all I have with me is an original iPad which barely has enough memory to handle a full paragraph of text. Happy trails to you, til we meet again. --Atsme☎️📧 01:29, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
So you think that the lead of schizophrenic should say :schizophrenics have a multiple personality just because it's "ubiquitous?" I'm sorry, but WP:RS and WP:V are absolutes here. We have wikilinks to the relevant concepts and I see no reason to debate this any further. I really doubt that you know much about horses or the equine industry if you insist on saying "wild" horses, when virtually every book in existence that discusses breeds and horse types explains that the free-roaming Mustang is a feral animal. Montanabw(talk) 19:32, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Further, per your concerns about explaining things, really, you cannot get any simpler than the current wording: The mustang is a free-roaming horse of the American west that first descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Mustangs are often referred to as wild horses, but there is debate over terminology. Because they are descended from once-domesticated horses, they can be classified as feral horses.
The personal attack was unnecessary. Such behavior usually rears its ugly head when there is no substantive argument to support questioned content. I am also concerned over what appears to be OWN behavior at this article. I suggest you restrict your comments to content, not editors. If the paragraph was acceptable as written, other editors wouldn't be trying to change it. Enjoy the weekend. --Atsme☎️📧 23:17, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
You raised the idea that you are some kind of expert. So, if you open the door, don't be surprised if you get called on your claims. The paragraph as it sits at present has been changed in the past to reflect legitimate concerns. It teaches the controversy and is sourced within the article. If you really want to use bad science and inaccurate terminology, then present sources that at least raise the potential for an intelligent, learned discussion. Otherwise, you are engaging in tendentious debate with fringe claims. Montanabw(talk) 16:59, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Shall we add WP:Battleground and WP:Baiting to the list of WP:NPA? Why are you still going on and on after I said I was laying this issue aside for the time being? Horses are within my area of expertise and I really don't care if you believe it or not. Either way, my passing mention of it doesn't give you a free pass to violate behavioral policy by discrediting me when you have no clue what you're talking about. Focus on your own editing which you seem to think is so perfect that it needs no improvement instead of launching personal attacks and casting aspersions against me as you did above. If you have a problem with any of my edits or anything else I have done here, you are welcome to file an action at ANI. In the interim, please respect WP:NPA and focus on content.--Atsme☎️📧 17:32, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Honey, I'm not the one spending endless bandwidth arguing about unsupportable assertions. Take your own advice and go away. Montanabw(talk) 06:10, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
As I requested of you above, restrict your comments to content.
  1. The mustang is a free-roaming horse of the American west - a ridiculous statement based in the misapprehension of the correct terminology. Example: a rough stock breeder (breeder of bucking stock for rodeos) has free-roaming horses on a 10,000 acre ranch in Colorado; some may have been wild mustangs captured by BLM and later adopted by that rough stock breeder. They are not wild mustangs any longer. They have been tamed and are in captivity.
  2. A breed of horse is developed by selective breeding programs (typically crossing recognized breeds of domesticated horses). Mustangs that run wild on the ranges of the American west are not domesticated. Their ancestry comprises once domesticated horses but they are now wild horses roaming the ranges of the American west. Those wild horses are called mustangs. This article is confusing because the terminology is confusing and incorrect.
  3. Mustangs are often referred to as wild horses - by whom and under what circumstances? Wild horses are often referred to as wild horses. Wild mustangs are wild horses until they are brought into captivity in a training program at which time they are domesticated, and then they are called trained mustangs or just plain mustangs if they happen to be DNA tested to be mustangs and not someone's domesticated Quarter Horse that escaped captivity 15 years ago and joined a wild herd. After domestication, when horses are turned back into the wild they quickly revert to being wild. That's what horses do regardless of how they are bred because it is an inherent trait built into their DNA.
As soon as I get my laptop back, I will properly cite scientific/scholarly references that support the relaxed statements I just made. In the interim, stop telling me to go away. It is rude and demonstrates OWN behavior. You should be inviting collaborators to help improve this article, not trying to run-off editors simply because you disagree. --Atsme☎️📧 12:55, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
First off, it's the lead- a summary of the article. See WP:LEAD you don't rewrite the lead until you have better stuff to source the article. If you have sources, great. Post them. Montanabw(talk) 07:43, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Definition of "wild"[edit]

There seems to have been some discussion about use of the word "wild". Sometimes science can help us with words that are used quite casually. For example, an inbred strain is "A strain is defined as inbred when it has been mated brother x sister for 20 or more consecutive generations" I was hoping there might be something as clear cut for "wild", such as "never-domesticated" but I don't think there is. So, to make everything clear as mud, I offer the following -
Definitions of "wild"
Merriam-Webster: "of an animal : living in nature without human control or care : not tame"[8]
Oxford dictionaries: Wild is "(Of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated:"[9]
MacMillan dictionary: "a wild animal or plant lives or grows on its own in natural conditions and is not raised by humans"[10]
The Wildness article: "[Wild] species experience their full life cycles without deliberate human intervention." but no reference given.
For humour value, the UK Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976[11] list of dangerous wild animals includes asses, horses and zebras (the donkey, domestic horse and domestic hybrids are excepted) or more scientifically, "Equidae, except the species Equus asinus. Equus caballus and Equus asinus x Equus caballus".
Perhaps on the mustang article there needs to be a little expansion of these terms if use of the word "wild" is contested.
DrChrissy (talk) 15:16, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, DrChrissy. Another somewhat humorous consideration is the fact that in 1971, the US Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Notice my bold and the fact it is not titled the Wild Mustang and Burros Act. My laptop is fixed - will pick it up in a few hours. --Atsme☎️📧 17:19, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
The US Congress, as we all know, is not an arbiter of correct scientific terminology. And dictionaries fail to accurately define terms of art. These horses are feral because they have descended from domesticated ancestors and that's the beginning, middle and end of the matter. Anything else is a WP:FRINGE theory and there is a noticeboard about those. And FWIW, [12]: "The Mustang is a feral horse found now in the western United States." Montanabw(talk) 07:45, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
There's also the example of feral cats versus actual wild cats...another example of a population (feral cats) descending from a domesticate animal while the actual wild cats (lynx, bobcats, etc.) were never domesticated. Just tossing out an example. Intothatdarkness 13:59, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Watch wild in a domestic situation and tell me, is it a feral bobcat and a feral coyote? The unapproachable "wild" - [13] --Atsme📞📧 17:25, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Hmmmm...they both look rather "tame" to me. The opening seconds of the coyote are a great example of what animal behaviouralists call a "displacement behaviour" This happens when an animal has competing motivations (here it is fight or flight) and does not know what to do, so an irrelevent behaviour is expressed. In humans, we scratch our heads when we don't know what to do. Am I correct in thinking that horses paw the ground in similar confrontations?DrChrissy (talk) 17:46, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
DrChrissy, as you are aware, horses are prey so the herd would instinctually run like hell, unlike individual predators who may pause to evaluate a situation contingent upon their level of hunger. The herd stallion would have instinctively pursued (and perhaps killed) the bobcat. I have witnessed such behavior on numerous occasions, a few times in "domestic" environments (developed ranch land) with herds of domesticated (tamed) horses (recognized breeds) vs a few (abandoned) very hungry dogs (mutts, or feral dogs - you choose) who had their chops set on tender young horse meat. I've actually lost a foal or two to such activity. What I've noticed about some of the scientific research on horses (which admittedly has advanced significantly and has almost caught-up to, perhaps surpassed, some of the scientific knowledge on cattle) is somewhat limited to book knowledge and controlled trials (city slicker hand-me-down academics) rather than hands-on, in-the-field observations in varying environments over decades. Please feel free to correct me, but isn't the phylogenesis of a species based on genetic changes that are attributable to (and influenced by) natural selection (adaptability) and environmental conditions (displacement behavior)? So is the coyote and bobcat considered "domesticated" based on their "approachability"? Certainly the clades demonstrate what science perceives to be the evolution of a highly derived (and domesticated) species, but does it factor in instinctual behaviors that have not undergone any genetic or evolutionary changes as with the horse? --Atsme📞📧 19:19, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
I mentioned the feral cat as an example of a domesticated species which has gone "wild" but is still identified as feral based on its origins. Habituated to the presence of humans doesn't have the same connotation. Intothatdarkness 17:54, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
@Intothatdarkness By definition, a feral animal has to have been domesticated (at some time). Animals which have never been domesticated can still habituate to the presence of humans under a wide range of circumstances. For example, here in the UK, we have gray squirrels. I am not aware of these ever having been domesticated, but we have populations where they are easy to hand-feed - this has been called Self-domestication. @Atsme, I would not say that approachabilty means domesticated. Animals follow what is called the "final behavioural common path". An animal can only express one behaviour at a time - the common path. It is quite easy to think that the Bobcat and the Coyote considered the humans filming the confrontation as mere distractions, and that they needed to really focus on each other as a potentially dangerous opponent. As a consequence, the final common path was to "ignore the irrelevant humans, but attend to the much more potentially injurious furry adversary in front of me". It does surprise me though that the Bobcat trotted off in the direction it did - toward humans. But remember, we don't know the whole story - The bobcat might have been a mother with kittens, in which case she would very likely take the most direct route home, regardless. It really is so difficult to tell from just one film, but it is certainly very interesting.DrChrissy (talk) 19:45, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This particular debate has been hashed over (repeatedly) at other articles, notably feral. Domesticated animals gone into the wild are "feral"; wild animals that have become habituated to humans are "tamed." (and sometimes "trained") There are clear biological and physiological indicia of domestication and merely living in the wild does not change that. For example, there is the Domesticated silver fox, and studies surrounding this animal, which are extremely interesting and help to shed light on this question of how a wild animal is domesticated. With horses, feral animals, even those several generations in the wild, re-domesticate quickly - most "wild mustangs" that are captured and brought into human ownership are generally quick to adapt to human life. For the ones that do not (often due to age at capture or negative experiences), their offspring generally can be trained. In contrast, the zebra has had individuals tamed and even trained, but it has never been domesticated and hence remains "wild." Montanabw(talk) 21:51, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

I would also say that you only have wild animals where they are native. So, if you had a herd of (somewhat) tame ranch-raised elk, and they were released in the western U.S., their offspring would be wild. And no, I do not believe that horses are native to North America. They died out here because, unlike those that migrated to the Old World over the Siberian land bridge, they did not adapt to the warmer climates at the end of the last ice age. The horses brought to N.A. five hundred years ago had changed enough that they were able to flourish for a time on the Southern Great Plains, which was a similar environment to the Mediterranean region they came from. But, the Great Plains was not where they evolved and adapted to that environment, (and where other flora and fauna evolved and adapted to their presence) so they aren't native. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 20:35, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not so sure I can agree with you there Lynn. Here in the UK, we have your US Grey Squirrel. It has never been domesticated (I think) therefore it is not feral here in the UK, some populations have been trained and will hand feed, but they are certainly not native. However, I think we could (at least we do in the UK) call it "wild".DrChrissy (talk) 20:54, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I think on this one, DrChrissy, I mostly (!) agree with LynnWysong. Your comment confuses invasive species with feral ones. The gray squirrel has never been domesticated anywhere, and LynnWysong makes a good analogy about farmed elk (Wapiti) - they are not domesticated, not feral, but truly wild animals. (No genetic changes, no physiological adaptations, they are essentially zoo animals that get hunted) Similarly, the "wild vs feral" horse question is actually quite simple. Clearly e. ferus caballus as a subspecies did not come into being in the Americas - horses were domesticated in Eurasia long after they became extinct in America. So I do partly agree with LynnWysong all the horses and donkeys in America today are technically feral - all are descended from domesticated animals. The "political" question, however, is thornier - are they to be managed as an invasive species or are they a reintroduced species - even though it was a different subspecies or an ancestral equus predecessor that actually lived here? For example, the Australian Brumby is clearly invasive; equus never lived in Australia until brought by Europeans. But in the Americas, ancestors of the modern horse did live on the continent until about 8-12,000 years ago and one theory holds that human hunting pressure was a contributing factor in extinction.. So, to that end, I can't quite agree with Lynn that the modern horse was adapted to a Mediterranean climate—it was domesticated in a steppe climate, though it did OK generally in drier ecosystems, even semi-arid ones like the Iberian Peninsula; nor can I state unquivocally that the ancestral horse didn't evolve on the Great Plains - fossil finds in places like Idaho clearly note that a probable direct line ancestor did exist here, adapted to a cold high plains ecosystem not unlike that of the Eurasian Steppes. So with that sharpening of the horns of the dilemma, I shall step back and invite further discussion. Montanabw(talk) 22:54, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I have sources for the idea that, upon reaching the old world, horses adapted into four different types, two that were adapted to cold climates (draft and pony types) and two for warm (Arabian and Barb types). The Barb type was found in the Mediterranean, was adapted to that environment, and was, not surprisingly, the kind of horse the Spanish brought to the New World. But, in the New World, instead of adapting to warmer climates, horses appeared to just keep moving north, following the ecosystem they were adapted to as the Ice Age receded, until they either ate their forage out of existence, or were finished off by humans.
Whereas evidence of ancient horses can be found in the Great Plains, or even the Great Basin desert is really meaningless as to their place in those geographic areas in modern times. The ecosystems that existed during equine evolution were completely different during that time period. Evidence indicates that the last line of horses in the Old World were adapted to a cold grassland environment that may have existed quite far south during the Ice Age, but disappeared as the ice receded, leaving an environment in which the horses couldn't survive, or couldn't adapt to quickly enough to survive the pressure of human hunting. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 23:40, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Lynn, though I think you are correct that horses do adapt to whatever climate humans put them in, with the "types" you are referring to a variant of the now-partly-discredited Four Foundations Theory - which I once studied as well (Deb Bennett was a proponent of a variation on it, too). More recent DNA studies and evidence suggests a more mixed picture of multiple origins, see History of horse domestication theories. It's quite fascinating. Montanabw(talk) 17:15, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Not after domestication but before. Upon reaching the Old World, horses spread out and, depending on where they ended up, they adapted through natural selection to their environment. Horses in the north remained stouter for better heat retention. Horses in the south became more slender to better deal with the heat. Yes, there may have been a single locus for domestication, but once the idea of horses as beast of burden spread, humans began domesticating their local variant. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 21:17, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you think I am confusing "invasive" and "feral" An animal can be one, or both of these. The grey squirrel has never been domesticated. It therefore, by definition, cannot be feral, but it is invasive here in the UK. We also have American mink here. These were bred for their fur (artificaially selected both in the US and the UK), therefore they are domesticated. They have now escaped/been released and formed breeding populations in the UK, i.e. they are feral. However, they were introduced into this country, therefore they are also invasive. I am not sure why the farmed elk is a good analogy, I simply don't know the details here. But, if the elk have been kept under the influence of humans, it is likely they have been selected for certain traits, meaning they are domesticated.DrChrissy (talk) 13:45, 22 May 2015 (UTC)ee
I was thinking of your gray squirrel example, they aren't feral, they are wild, but you seemed to be using them as an example... but if I didn't understand what you were saying, then mea culpa. I haven't studied mink, but I can tell you that though there are attempts to farm Elk, it's mostly for "canned" hunting and they haven't really been "domesticated." I agree that there need to be genetic and physiological changes for domestication to be considered a possibility, but some animals, no matter how many generations are "tamed," simply cannot be domesticated - the zebra and Przewalski's horse being classic cases - god knows people have tried! But, that's a discussion for elsewhere, I suppose. Here we are just looking at horses. Montanabw(talk) 17:15, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I guess you could say that mustangs are both feral and wild, but feral is a more precise description, since they descend from domesticated stock. I think there's an attempt to limit the use of wild to animals that have never been domesticated, but that seems to be causing a lot of contention. Maybe it's time to rethink that. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 21:17, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I realize the Britannica is tertiary but during the rethinking process, perhaps their encyclopedic entry will shed new light - [14], [15]. --Atsme📞📧 21:29, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

According to the Domestication article, domestication is the cultivating or taming of a population of organisms in order to accentuate traits that are desirable to the cultivator or tamer. Let's forget the taming bit. There is no doubt in anybody's mind here that the ancestors of mustangs were selected to be x, y, z. Therefore, mustangs are domesticated horses. They always will be - the domestication process can not be reversed. Regarding zebras, if these have been selected to be tame, to pull carts, whatever, these zebras are domesticated. They might still be bloody awful at pulling carts, but this lineage is domesticated and and descendants of these are also domesticated. The farmed elk may have genetic differences due simply to living under the (extremely slight) influence of humans, such as a reduced flight zone, or the ability to survive in captivity. This means they are domesticated.
Meriam-Webster defines feral as "used to describe an animal (such as a cat or dog) that has escaped and become wild". I think that says mustangs are both feral and wild. I would be interested to see a source of the argument that only native species can be wild.DrChrissy (talk) 22:38, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
No, zebras are sometimes tamed, but never domesticated (the ones pulling the carts can "revert" in a flash and kick your head in!) There are physiological, genetic changes that accompany domestication. Horses are, zebras aren't. It's not behavior, it's deeper than that. It's most useful to say "feral but living in the wild" - or, "free-roaming." Montanabw(talk) 06:18, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I think you mis-understand me. Domestication is the process of cultivating for desirable traits (usually physiological and/or behavioural i.e. one or both). Taking this to its extreme, the F1 progeny of any parents that have been selected for a trait, have been subject to domestication. I do not know whether the zebra pulling the cart is F1 progeny or not, but if it is the result of someone who selected for a trait, technically, it is (being) domesticated. Yes, it may turn round and kick your head in, but domestic pigs, bulls and even broody hens will do that. We may have selected for an animal to be e.g. productive, but that selection may not have included selecting against aggressive behaviour. I am not saying that domestication is only behaviour. We have white lions and tigers in zoos. These have been selected for their white colour (because this makes money!), i.e. physiology, so they are domesticated, but I would not walk into the cage with a ball of wool to play with them because of their behaviour which I doubt very much has been selected for!
I am of course taking this to an extreme. The Domestication page talks about "The term "domesticated" refers to an entire species or variety while the term "tame" can refer to just one individual within a species or variety." This is not terribly helpful though, because the wild boar and the domestic pig are the same species, as are the red junglefowl and the domestic chicken. (I am sure there are other examples.)
The Domestication page also offers the terms "semi-domesticated" and "partially domesticated". Perhaps the zebra issue is not black-and-white (HA! The pun is definitely intended!). I'm not quite sure I know exactly what these terms mean, but maybe we should be thinking about them.DrChrissy (talk) 10:32, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I dispute that a F1 bred-in-captivity animal is "domesticated" - people might be trying, but it doesn't mean they have succeeded. Similarly, just because we can manage an animal doesn't mean we have domesticated it. Some species can be domesticated, others cannot. (Again, Jared Diamond had an excellent summary of the traits that make animals domesticatable or not.) I think the literature on the topic pretty much points to that one species of fox as the only new animal to be domesticated for thousands of years. (pretty much everything else seems to have been domesticated thousands of years ago - humans definitely have tried to tame everything, just not always with success) Cheetahs were an interesting case; you see images of them in ancient Egypt with collars and leashes, used to hunt down game. Yet we think of them as "wild" today. They are also a rather vulnerable species because they went through a genetic bottleneck at some point and have very low genetic diversity, which is a concern to a lot of zoos. Interesting. Montanabw(talk) 15:44, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
So how would you define when an animal has been domesticated? What is "successful" domestication?DrChrissy (talk) 18:39, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Wild vs Wildlife[edit]

I thought I'd start a new section here because the last one is getting rather long. It seems to me that the debate over the term wild centers around whether or not mustangs could or should be considered wildlife, as opposed to feral and/or invasive species. Those that favor the idea that horses are native wildlife species, either because they never died out or that they died out so recently in geologic time that they should still be considered native prefer the term "wild". Those that consider horses to be invasive prefer the term feral.

My take on it? I'm not even going to go to the "horses never died out in the New World" theory. It's a fringe theory, with no real evidence but lots of excuses for why not. Next, can they still be considered native because they died out so recently in geologic time and because DNA comparisons of horses found in permafrost are very similar to modern horses? I still say no, because if the New World was the horse's native environment, they wouldn't have died out here. I don't think that early humans were directly responsible for their extinction-at the most humans just pushed a species imperiled by climate change over the brink. Now, I realize that horses in the Old World managed to adapt to the climate change, and thus some became well suited for the environment that is now typical of the Southern Great Plains and California. But, species and their environment must evolve together and create a balance. That was not the case for horses and the warm semi-desert regions in the New World. Horses had died out long before those environments became what they were like when the first white men set eyes on them, and began causing significant changes. So, while horses may have flourished there for a while, it's entirely possible that they would have eventually caused some environmental cataclysm had modern humans not set about eliminating them. And they certainly would in the Great Basin desert where most mustangs are found now. So, I'm feral and invasive all the way. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 21:59, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

First off, Lynn and I happen to agree 100% (!) that the "horses never died out in the New World" thing is a WP:FRINGE theory. They became extinct. End of story. I also feel that horses in the Americas are unquestionably "feral" in that they are - 100% - descended from once-domesticated ancestors and as the BLM's Adopt-a-Mustang program demonstrates, they are fairly easy to "re-domesticate" once removed from the wild. So I agree that they are feral. Montanabw(talk) 07:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Second, there are multiple origins for the various herds today. Some have been well-studied and have a clear history, either via DNA (like the Pryor herd) or decent record-keeping of some of the more isolated populations (like the Kigers). I have long felt the one thing this article needs and doesn't have is a good chart of all the HMAs with sources about their populations, origins, etc. That's just an article improvement question. Montanabw(talk) 07:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Third, the real question for an article like this one is to look at the modern "preserve them all versus shoot 'em all" question - to this day, there is a battle between livestock interests and "wild" horse preservationists. This dispute needs to be handled neutrally and in a way that is fair to both sides, with good sources. I think so far the article tries to do this, though always room to improve. At least, given that more of the vandalism is from the "save the wild horses" side, I think we're close. It will always be a no-win battleground, like the abortion issue or something, because there are a lot of people who don't think there's any middle ground.  :-P Montanabw(talk) 07:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Fourth, I think that the article can and should have a clear-eyed look at population and the actual environmental impact of feral, free-roaming horses. But sourcing must be meticulous and very carefully done. Horses obviously reproduce quickly and population control is needed. But it needs to be done with consideration of the reality that humans have changed any "natural" environment from what it might be, whether by overgrazing livestock generally, eliminating natural predators, adding cattle grazing (speaking of an "invasive" species... with the exception of bison), oil and gas development, mining, etc. And this must be done recognizing the political power of the beef cattle and natural resource extraction industries (both of which would like them gone). I figure that the BLM is a good place to start for basic info - they get it from both sides: The wild horse preservation interests think the BLM is part of a conspiracy in cahoots with the cattle industry, but an awful lot of Nevada cattle ranchers have sympathy for that Bundy standoff against the BLM. Montanabw(talk) 07:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Finally ... I split the difference on the question of "invasive" by saying "maybe, maybe not." I have said that I think it is clear that the Australian Brumby IS an invasive species in Australia, the horse never lived there, but I think horses in the Americas are a gray area. I think it worth looking at each side of the "can they still be considered native because they died out so recently in geologic time?" question. Put differently, is the modern horse more comparable to the native bison or the invasive domestic cow? A couple of books raise an interesting point about the climatic changes associated with the end of the last Ice Age affecting Eurasia and the Americas differently. For example, Stephen Budiansky's The Nature of Horses makes a rather compelling argument that the horse could have also died out in Eurasia were it not for domestication - the horse wasn't doing so well there against human hunters, either. It just would have taken a bit longer. In discussing animal domestication generally, Guns, Germs, and Steel noted that the east-west alignment of Eurasia allowed things like certain crops and domesticated animals to spread more easily due to the similarity of latitude, even if climate and altitude changed, day length and season length did not. In contrast, the Americas, aligned in a north-south geography, made movement of species - plant and animal - more difficult.
So, at the end of the day, while perhaps the Great Basin isn't the best place for them now, for a lot of reasons, the same can be said for another completely invasive species - the modern cow - and no one talks about eliminating them, only controlling populations: So the real question isn't a palentological - or even biological - one, it's a political one. And, frankly, Kleppe v. New Mexico established the law of the land. So... now... onward? Montanabw(talk) 07:06, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
First off, I think it's important to not go down a "horses vs cows" on the desert rabbit trail. It's unproductive. Because, there doesn't seem to be any disagreement over (at least by people that have any realistic grasp on the subject) they both must be managed on the Great Basin desert, which gets a total of about six inches a year of precipitation. You couldn't take either one and just turn them out, let them reproduce freely and expect desirable results. It simply is not suitable habitat for large herbivores, unless the grazing is intensely managed. When white man first explored the region, they noted there were no bison, and no wild horses (although at that time there was an abundance of wild horses on more suitable habitat in the western U.S.). The biggest thing out there was pronghorn, that aren't much bigger than a goat. There may have been scattered populations of deer and elk, but they weren't abundant.
When white settlers came, they had to be very resourceful in their use of the land. Any crops needed irrigation, so they settled in areas where water was available. They would turn their livestock (INCLUDING horses) out on the desert (public domain) for the winter, but also feed hay grown under irrigation, because the land simply could not sustain year round grazing. Sheepmen were nomadic, just like those on other deserts in the world, and were constantly moving their herds to areas of ungrazed forage. Since they still would be limited to grazing in areas were there was at least some water for the animals, the sheep and cattlemen developed water sources, drilling shallow wells that pumped water with windmills, putting catchment dams in ephemeral washes that would then create ponds that had been lined with clay to hold the water, and digging down into springs and seeps, installing head boxes that would fill up with water that could be piped down to ponds. That was the only way they could make grazing work. In 1934, the Taylor Grazing Act was enacted to regulate the grazing on the public domain, because the Tragedy of the Commons was rearing its head. By that time serious environmental damage had already occurred from ALL livestock grazing, horses included.
So, cattle and sheep grazing is intensely managed on the public lands in an attempt to keep it sustainable. Permits are issued, the range is monitored, and depending on the conditions, the number of animals and the timing of their use is adjusted. But, the settlers horses that had gone feral were not permitted nor managed. They were on the range year round, reproducing freely. The only way to manage them was to eliminate them. Finally, the WFRH&BA was passed to give the BLM the job of managing them, because the bottom line is, they must be managed. Regardless of whether or not there are cows and sheep out there, horses are still an invasive species on the desert. I know there are a lot of people out there that think that horses do not have to be managed, just take off all the cows and sheep to make room for them, and everything will be fine. Maybe turn some wolves out there too, to keep the population down. There is no scientific or historic basis for such a premise. Horses are not, and never have been, a natural species there. There may have been equines in the geographic region thousands of years ago when it was wetter and colder, but not since it became a desert, after the last Ice Age.
So, to take it back to the "Wild". Are managed horses "wild" horses? Going back to Dr Chrissy's definitions:
Definitions of "wild"
Merriam-Webster: "of an animal : living in nature without human control or care : not tame"[8]
Oxford dictionaries: Wild is "(Of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated:"[9]
MacMillan dictionary: "a wild animal or plant lives or grows on its own in natural conditions and is not raised by humans"[10]
The Wildness article: "[Wild] species experience their full life cycles without deliberate human intervention." but no reference given.
It's a stretch to say that horses are wild under these definitions. 1) they aren't in their natural environment and 2) they must be subject to intense human intervention. I know that pretty much all wildlife species are managed these days because human activities have disrupted their environments, but horses are subject to a more intense management because of their special circumstances.
Now, as to whether or not horses could be considered native or non-invasive in regions that could theoretically support large herbivores with little management, such as in the Great Plains, it might be a great philosophical discussion, but not really relevant except as part of the history of the mustang, because that's not where they are any longer. So, to get to the real meat of the issue: yes, this all highly political. And much of the controversy is due to a lot of misconceptions on the part of the public. This is why I feel so strongly that the wikipedia articles on this subject are as accurate and neutral as possible. This is where a large number of the public gets its information. If we (as a nation) are going to make decisions as to the management and fate of wild horses, it should be done with an true understanding of the issues. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 14:04, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Lynn, I think your statement "If we (as a nation)...." speaks volumes. First, this is an international encylopaedia, not a North American Encyclopaedia. Second, this is not a place to be promoting political points of view regarding how mustangs are to be managed in the future.DrChrissy (talk) 19:42, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm simply giving a basis for my feelings on the importance of accuracy and neutrality. If wikipedia's motivation for accuracy and neutrality are not the same as mine, we still have the same goals and objectives, so there's no reason for concern. And whereas wikipedia may be "international", the political issues here that underlie the current controversy of terminology are not. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 19:59, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree that the Mustang, as a North American type, and mostly a US type, is not in need of internationalization. But neutrality is critical. My take (as a contributor to multiple featured articles) is that we have to treat the views of both sides fairly. Montanabw(talk) 13:52, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I realize the Britannica is tertiary, but they have a very informative video (short) that demonstrates true neutrality as does their written article. I'm not suggesting copyvio but it doesn't hurt to extract ideas from such RS. Also, WP gives us the freedom to provide more in-depth information (general knowledge) which must be presented in compliance with NPOV. The article should focus primarily on the animal. [16] --Atsme📞📧 22:10, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Just as an aside most of today's mustangs are not eligible for registration in Spanish Mustang Registry nor the Spanish Barb Breeders Association. Some of the foundation stock from those registries came from herds that still exist today, but they were herds that were recognized as having survived the mass elimination of the Spanish herds, which were pretty much gone by 100 years ago. Today's herds consist mostly of settler's horses that starting going feral on the desert about the same time the remnants of the once plentiful Spanish mustangs were being gathered off the last grasslands remaining in the public domain in the early 20th century. They were sent to Africa for use in the Boer War and settlers claimed the lands for the wave of dry farming, setting up the region for the Dust bowl Lynn (SLW) (talk) 11:54, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
PS: Also wanted to add the following from RS - (1) Oxford dictionary - mustang - Origin: Early 19th century: from a blend of Spanish mestengo (from mesta 'company of graziers') and mostrenco, both meaning 'wild or masterless cattle' [17]; and (2) "The Mustang is a feral horse found now in the western United States. The name Mustang comes from the Spanish word mesteño or monstenco meaning wild or stray." [18] (Atsme📞📧 added 22:19, 24 May 2015 (UTC))
Can we compromise that the first mustangs, those that escaped from the Spanish and flourished on the Southern Great Plains could accurately be described as wild, since there was no human intervention in their life cycle, and they were existing on a natural (grassland) habitat whereas today's mustang's that escaped from the American settlers on the Great Basin and other desert regions in the West can only be considered feral, since they are existing on an unnatural desert habitat, with intense human management? Lynn (SLW) (talk) 11:54, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────No, the original Spanish horses were also estrays that bred on in wild conditiond, just like today's . By the "no human intervention" standard, even modern elk, deer, wolves and mountain lions wouldn't be "wild." This issue has been extensively debated at the feral article and I see no reason to beat this horse to death further. Plus, dictionary and encyclopedia definitions may lead us to sources, but given that there's a lot more on the topic, they are weak. Montanabw(talk) 13:52, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Well, if you see no reason to discuss it further, feel free to bow out. But I don't think it's been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 14:06, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

"Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife"[edit]

This is actually an essay that, I believe, started the whole "horses as native species" debate. Jay F. Kirkpatrick brought it forth in 2003, and kept updating it until 2010, after which he seems to have abandoned the idea. However, it can still be found online on the websites of several mustang advocacy groups. About three and a half years ago, I did a fair use refutation of Kirkpatrick's essay that can be found here: Lynn (SLW) (talk) 14:19, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Hm, never heard of the guy. Facebook isn't a reliable source for anything. I really think it's time to look at what the literature says, not anyone's opinions. Montanabw(talk) 13:47, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
@Lynn, as someone who is totally neutral (confused!) in this, I really think you might be setting yourself up for assucations of COI by this posting. You appear to be an expert in this field and an expert's views are always welcome, but I'm not sure drawing the readers' attention to "I wrote this" is the best way to do it.DrChrissy (talk) 13:44, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Lynn probably isn't an expert, she's just a person interested in the topic, like the rest of us. I do agree that linking to a facebook essay doesn't impress anyone. Montanabw(talk) 13:47, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I dunno. What do you consider "an expert"? Someone who's done a lot of research, which I have? Not trying to impress anyone, just trying to give some background into the debate. Dr. Kirkpatrick's essay is used as a source in this article (see Note 28, which goes to a dead link). My point is, not that what I put on facebook could be used as an RS, but that essay itself has issues and appears to no longer even be promoted by the author-which weakens the argument for considering horses to be wildlife. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 14:17, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
We've all done a lot of research on stuff, that gives us a working expertise, perhaps, but absent credentials, we'd have a hard time convincing anyone of our "expert" status. And even then, on WP, as they say On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. (There's a credentialed "expert" that I run into sometimes on the Montana articles who might have a PhD but is also a POV-pushing ideologue, a credential and expertise still doesn't prevent someone from being full of s--t). That said, and I say this with respect, I think @DrChrissy: does have a PhD, which makes him an expert in something... ;-) but not Mustangs - all of which is why we do more research and keep working on improved sources. Montanabw(talk) 16:03, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Yup, I totally agree I am not an expert on mustangs. I used to teach vet students about horse behaviour but I would always have the throw-away line "These creatures should never have been domesticated - they are too bloody damn big!" Me and horses do not get on terribly well. What I have been trying to inject here is a neutral, biological approach to the use of terms that are biological, but seem to have been hijacked (not by you two) for political motives. You are both clearly passionate about your points of view and you are both expending considerable energy on arguing these. Editing energy is limited - I wish you could both write a section you agree on - even though there might not be a final conclusion and you have to agree to disagree, and then move on to use that energy for article writing.DrChrissy (talk) 16:27, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually it was Hope Ryden that started making the argument, in 1970, that horses should be considered native species. Her argument centers around the idea that early man wiped out horses in the New World and that the idea "is the only one that has any significant number of adherents in the scientific community" so when the Spanish brought horses back, it was a reintroduced native species. I'm not sure if she was correct that, in 1970, there were few if any adherents to the idea that it was climate change that wiped out the horses, but presently that idea has many proponents. Dr. Kirkpatrick's essay 33 years later tried to make a more scientific approach to the issue, but it was never peer-reviewed, and even an amateur like me could see a lot of problems with it. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 15:10, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
It's fair to acknowledge that the hypothesis exists, who promotes it and such. Ryden is generally respected as a promoter of wild horse preservation, so she's a RS that the position exists (if not its validity); Kirkpatrick's essay all depends on where it was published, and not being submitted for peer review does make it fair game - but it cannot be OUR analysis, it has to be that of others. (I know, you hate the caps, but WP:SYNTH is our reality) I happen to agree with you that it is important to present the scientific view that is supported by the BLM and other groups, and that evidence. The question of "climate change versus newly-arrived hunters" is probably not going to be resolved one way or the other based on current science, but much of what I have read suggests that both were factors. Would horses have died out anyway if humans had not appeared on the scene? Hard to say. Montanabw(talk) 16:03, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Proposal - I don't have a problem with any information that is accurately stated and supported by the RS cited. I would like to modify the lead to accurately define in a nutshell that Columbus reintroduced the horse to the New World in 1493 and that anecdotal evidence generally credits the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez as being the first to bring horses to North America. In 1543, the horses that escaped from Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's expedition as they headed north from Mexico are the horses that became the foundation of the first feral horse population in North America that, over the centuries, evolved into the wild free roaming horses known today as “mustangs”. The etymology section will explain the origin and use of the word "mustang" as originating from the Spanish word “mesteño,” meaning “wild.” The lead should also include a brief definition of "true wild" per the same article by the American Museum of Natural History. [19]. If we can all agree on that summary I will add it to the lead and etymology section. Agreed? Disagree? Atsme📞📧 16:43, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

SLOW DOWN: Please don't mess with the lead - the lead has to reflect the content that is already in the article - in any article improvement drive, standard procedure is to fix the article, then clean up the lede, otherwise you wind up rewriting the lead a dozen times. I'm OK with improving the etymology bit on the history of the word but - I wonder if you've actually read it and looked at the citations there - what's there is more precise ("strayed animal") than what you have proposed here. I like your additional AMNH source, which you could use to augment the OTHER AMNH source that is already in the etymology and usage section. There is actually insufficient evidence to support the Coronado theory - that was actually debunked decades ago in favor of the theory that a horse-trading center in the vicinity of Santa Fe may have been how horses were introduced to the southwest from Mexico. [20] Montanabw(talk) 17:16, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Part of the problem with what you suggest, Atsme, is that, for the most part, today's mustangs do not descend from the horses brought over by the Spanish. They descend from the horses brought to the desert regions by American settlers, much later than when the Spanish horses came. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 18:01, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Read what I wrote - it's science, it's cited, and it clarifies. Atsme📞📧 20:33, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
No it doesn't, Atsme, and could you please listen to what we are saying? The issue is far, far more complex than you are making it out to be. I just told you that the lead isn't the place to put a bunch of generalizations. Lynn and I have been disputing for about two months over how to handle the history section and much as we disagree with each other, I don't think either one of us feel you have a proper understanding of the issue. Verifiability≠truth, OK? Montanabw(talk) 21:56, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Your OWN behavior and condescension toward me and other editors is WP:BATTLEGROUND and I ask that you please stop. This article is about an animal which should focus primarily on its evolutionary history, phylogeny, behavioral characteristics, uses, and maybe a small paragraph about legal issues but being careful to not give it UNDUE. WP is not a political soapbox. The concern over legal issues, BLM and government rangeland is beginning to raise my concerns over where this article is headed. I am trying to AGF but I tend to agree with DrChrissy who said, What I have been trying to inject here is a neutral, biological approach to the use of terms that are biological, but seem to have been hijacked (not by you two) for political motives. Perhaps you can enlighten me regarding your motivations for reverting RS biological material from the lead which speaks to the phylogeny and evolutionary history of the animal while you are busy focusing on the BLM controversy and lawsuits. Atsme📞📧 22:22, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This statement reveals your lack of knowledge - the Mustang is not a subspecies of horse, it's a type or a breed or a landrace, but it's definitely NOT a subspecies, so, just for starters, adding e. ferus caballus is unnecessary. This is not an article about a species. That's pretty much the beginning and the end of the matter. We could as well be debating if the Beagle is a species of dog. You are in fact, promoting precisely the WP:FRINGE views that Lynn and I happen to both agree on - and when the two of us agree on something, that says a lot. Your suggestion to add the material about the Przewalski's horse (Takhi) was well-taken and was added - just not in the lead. Now calm down and learn about the topic before you go putting in inaccurate materials. Montanabw(talk) 22:43, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree with Montana here - this isn't a species. It's not even a subspecies. It's a type/breed/landrace of horses, we treat it like we'd treat the domestic shorthair article for cats.Ealdgyth - Talk 03:13, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
As a general rule, if information isn't in the body of the article, it doens't belong in the lead. Generalizing here, but when folks fight to get something into the lead which isn't in the body of the article, it usually means they are trying to push a point of view, rather than actually develop articles. The huge emphasis on the Spanish explorers and their missing horses in the lead is way undue weight. Ignore the lead and work on the body of the article, then when that's complete, the lead will easily write itself because the body will be balanced and easy to summarize. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:02, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, as a general rule we don't accuse other editors of pushing POV because its uncivil and in this instance, pretty far-fetched considering we're discussing the evolutionary history of a horse. The accusation made visions of Rod Serling flash before me. Since you appear to be having trouble finding lead coverage in the article, may I suggest reading the section History? Oh, and passages in the lead need only to be "covered" in the article not written verbatim. The claims of "huge emphasis" and "way undue weight" are actually huge exaggerations and way unwarranted as demonstrated by the following:
The article currently reads, Horses first returned with the conquistadors, beginning with Columbus, who imported horses from Spain to the West Indies on his second voyage in 1493. Domesticated horses came to the mainland with the arrival of Cortés in 1519. The only extant true wild horse is the Przewalski's horse, native to Mongolia. (50 words) Sorry, but....
  1. Columbus was principally a seagoing entrepreneur not a conquistador, and
  2. the short one sentence passages are neither lucid nor fluid rather they read more like an out of breath orator. Prose should flow like a natural conversation. The section also falls short of meeting the minimum requirements for providing general knowledge about the mustang's history.
The proposed lead reads, ...Christopher Columbus reintroduced the horse to the New World in 1493. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés was credited as being the first to bring horses to land in North America. However, it wasn't until 1543 when the expedition led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was headed north from Mexico that several of their horses escaped captivity, and became the foundation of the first feral horse population in North America. It was from that ancestry that various herds of feral horses evolved and became known as wild mustangs. (86 words) The lead is properly cited, the conquistadors are covered in the body of the article, as is everything else I wrote. The coverage is there, the details aren't and should be. In fact, the article coverage needs to be vastly improved so that the prose is lucid and flows more like the lead. As for the claim of WP:UNDUE, it appears there's a serious misunderstanding of what constitutes UNDUE. Read the 3rd paragraph which contains 147 words about the political controversy - more words than the other two paragraphs combined. Now what was that you were saying about POV? Atsme📞📧 02:32, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Please read what I said - I said it's undue weight in the lead, since it is larger than the section in the body it's purporting to summarize. BUt, even after explaining this several times, you continue to insist on it being in the lead. It may well be wonderful in the body - but we do not put information in the lead that is not in the body of the article. That's basic wiki editing. I wouldn't have an issue with this information in the body of the article. I'm not sure why that's so hard to grasp ... that it doesn't belong in the lead. And no, I did not accuse you of POV pushing - see that "Generalizing here" ... I'm saying that the continual insistance on this information in the lead is going to come across wrong. Put it in the body, develop the body more, and then when the body is polished up, worry about the lead. Ealdgyth - Talk 03:13, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Atsme, my greatest wish would be to just write a straightforward, objective article. But, unless all of these issues are addressed in a way where all sides can feel like their views are fairly represented, this article will never be stable because there will always be people challenging it. That's why we're treading carefully through the political minefield. It was you that brought up the wild vs feral debate, and all this is basically providing the background for the controversy over the terms. I know it's frustrating Dr. Chrissy also, who I don't think realizes what a hot button topic this is. And it's so convoluted. Horses evolved here, then died out here, then were reintroduced here, went feral here, and now the question is: are those "wild" horses native-in their natural habitat and thus meet the definition of wild or an invasive species and are simply feral? We're not going to settle that question here, but just want to write a balanced discussion on the controversy, so that people who come here to learn about the issue can form their own opinion. Your input is most welcome. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 23:32, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Lynn, I understand. The problem here is that Mustang is supposed to be an article about the animal complete with a taxobox and maybe even a clade diagram. What it has become is a political battlefield which is UNDUE, SOAPBOX and does not belong in this article. Those issues belong somewhere else, perhaps even a new article BLM Mustangs or as a section in the BLM article.
Montanabw, I have asked you to please stop edit warring and to stop the PAs and battleground behavior. Your argument for reverting the 1st paragraph I wrote for the lead lacks relevance to what I wrote. The only "consensus" anyone gets at this article is what you decide and that is hardly what I consider consensus - that demonstrates WP:OWN. You cannot prevent other editors from making GF edits to improve or expand this article. You know full well that is not how collaboration works. If you want to criticize my edits bring it to the TP before you revert and provide the diffs or quote what you claim is an incorrect passage. Every sentence I wrote is supported by cited RS. If community consensus is what is being proposed, then it is time for the community of involved editors to participate which currently includes DrChrissy, myself, and LynnWysong. What I actually wrote follows:

(A)The mustang (Equus fetus caballus) is a wild, free-roaming horse of the American west. Unlike the takhi which is the only extant true wild horse, the mustang first descended from domesticated European horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the early 16th century. The indigenous American horse was extinct by the end of the Pleistocene epoch (approximately 12,000 years ago), long before Christopher Columbus reintroduced the horse to the New World in 1493. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés was credited as being the first to bring horses to land in North America. However, it wasn't until 1543 when the expedition led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was headed north from Mexico that several of their horses escaped captivity, and became the foundation of the first feral horse population in North America. It was from that ancestry that various herds of feral horses evolved and became known as wild mustangs.

What the article reads now follows:

(B) The mustang is a free-roaming horse of the American west that first descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Mustangs are often referred to as wild horses, but there is debate over terminology. Because they are descended from once-domesticated horses, they can be classified as feral horses.

Furthermore, the 3rd para in the lead regarding BLM and the controversy is WP:UNDUE. A brief mention of what government agency manages the horses is fine, but the political controversy needs to be brief and included in the body of the article. WP is not a political battlefield or SOAPBOX for editors to express the pros and cons for why the mustang should stay or be removed. The article is supposed to be about the biology of the mustang as an animal. Atsme📞📧 00:08, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Please state KEEP (A) or KEEP (B) with your comments below.

  • DrChrissy - KEEP B primarily for one reason - this article is about the animal not the history of the animal. If B is kept, it should include the taxonomic name and the date when the Spanish brought the horse to the US. Version A is very informative and with a few tweaks could perhaps be the 3rd or 4th para in the lead, but it is a little "detail-dense" for the opening paragraph (these are the comments of a generalist biologist). Unfortunately, at the moment, the entire lead reads as if the mustang exists only to be a political hot potato; where are the general facts about the animal? How big is it? Does it have recognised colours or markings? How is it different from other horses? What is its social organisation? Can they be tamed? Some of these might seem obvious to you guys, but they won't be to the average reader. I really feel average readers want to know these sorts of facts before understanding the (detailed) political aspects of the history of the animal.DrChrissy (talk) 11:17, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Comment Well I tried - I actually think that B with the couple of additions I suggested make it very informative for the average reader. I tend to think of an adult reading to a child - would the child learn something? Would he adult learn something? I think an ammended B ticks both boxes. It has already been suggested that the main article should be organised first and the lede written later to summarise. I agree with this. Most/many articles have a "Description" or "Characteristics" section. One of these shoould be written and summarised as the 2nd or 3rd para in the lead section.DrChrissy (talk) 13:11, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Lynn - In the spirit of collaboration, I would be willing to KEEP (A) for now, with the caveat that it is adequately supported as the body of the article is developed. I also see your point about there may be too much discussion of the controversy here. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 02:13, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Montanabw -
  • Atsme - KEEP (A) for the reasons I mentioned above about the article focusing on the animal, its evolution, historic range, biology, morphology, reproduction, behavioral characteristics, etc.
  • comment - (B) does not work for multiple reasons. (1) It is poorly written; (2) it tells us little to nothing about the mustang; (3) the first sentence creates confusion - not all free-roaming horses are mustangs and not all populations that are free-roaming today were descended from those brought by the Spanish as the lead implies; (4) The second sentence immediately introduces "debate" when the lead paragraph should be providing encyclopedic information, not tabloid controversy; (5) the entire lead is UNDUE and there is no BALANCE as I already demonstrated above. (A) belongs in the lead, possibly condensed somewhat and definitely belongs in the body. Atsme📞📧 12:25, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Ealdgyth - Put the proposed text in the body of the article. Solves the problem. Ealdgyth - Talk 03:13, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

End comments

Politics and research and stuff[edit]

The endless discussion here is not moving anything forward, so I think research IS what moves things forward. I'm going to post stuff that looks to me like it has potential, not everything is going to be the word of god or anything. Even some source reliable for some things may not be for others. Discuss. Montanabw(talk) 16:50, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

What if we just presented both sides? Write a blurb about how the controversy got started, then rebuttals, such as this one:

I believe we already have a start at Mustang#Land_use_controversies and it is a section where expansion and good sources would be nice. (Has anyone who has commented here previously actually READ the entire article as it sits? Just wondering) While I generally respect the work of the Center for Biological Diversity, that particular editorial is nothing more than a polemic press release (words like "terrible" kind of defeat NPOV) and there are, no doubt, far better sources out there. I support the concept of balance, definitely, but I suspect that the BLM will be a better source for the "invasive species" position - surely a good GAO report is out there. Montanabw(talk) 18:41, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't think so. The BLM tends to stay out of those discussions. It's a land management agency that got blindsided 45 years with the task of managing horses, not a research agency like the USGS. And yes, I have read the article, and I believe this statement: "The environmentalist community is split over the position of the mustang within the North American ecosystem." is not really correct. I think that most environmentalist organizations do not believe wild horses belong where they are. It's the animal rights and mustang advocacy groups that push the "horses as native wildlife theory". Lynn (SLW) (talk) 19:28, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
      • We can clarify that, fair enough - in some ways there are three competing factions, add in the cattle industry. I would say that there are nuances in the "native wildlife" argument, though - some people just argue that they are adapted to the prairie ecosystem, but some extremists don't even believe in the use of PZP for population control, and that's pretty nutty. Montanabw(talk) 21:53, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
  • "This unregulated growth can overtax vegetation and affect herd health as well as native wildlife populations." So, USGS considers them non-native. Lynn (SLW) (talk) 19:36, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
    • Even though I believe you are correct, the use of "quotations" isn't proof - we need published analysis. It's out there. Try Google scholar. Montanabw(talk) 21:53, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
  • "There are similarities between certain genes in modern horses and fossil horses from North America, but geneticists do not believe that they are identical or members of the same species.1 Lynn (SLW) (talk) 20:15, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
    • Unless we want to (and we should but it will take time) drill down into peer-reviewed materials, we may have to use a balance of POV organizations' materials - that is pretty similar in tone to the wild horse preservation folks' stuff, just from the opposite view. I'm OK with it if it's balanced by a preservationist's work of similar type.

Good source material, I'll look it over. In the meantime, can you explain to Atsme why we can't just add random stuff into the lead without working it into the article? (I'm sort of in the middle of the Ahmed Zayat article, and it's sort of time-sensitive due to the Belmont ...) Montanabw(talk) 21:53, 25 May 2015 (UTC)