- Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:34 pm
This is the way I thought about it:
Olsen's hypothesis is that, based on horse mortality patterns (more males > females, fully grown males, full skeletons, buried with humans), Botai horses were domesticated and ridden. If we analyzed the remains of any other species of animal (such as in D), like a chicken, there could be similar mortality patterns (which may suggest the reason for more males/fully grown males could be some other reason besides riding, since you can't ride a chicken). I guess that would maybe weaken Olsen's hypothesis. There could also be different mortality patterns - but noticing different mortality patterns in some other species that consist of the 10% of bones found at Botai doesn't necessarily strengthen Olsen's hypothesis about riding horses; at the very least, it's more irrelevant in evaluating her hypothesis than A is. Ultimately, I don't think it matters much what the Botai people did with their pigs or chickens in evaluating Olsen's conclusion about riding horses, as much it matters to focus on the horses and their relationship to people based on horse bones.
Meanwhile, in A), if # of butchered horse bones > untouched horse bones, this would weaken Olsen's hypothesis. This could suggest that all of Olsen's observations remain true (more males, fully grown, full skeletons), but ultimately, more horses were butchered to be eaten despite the unusual way the Botai people kept them. Maybe there were only a few horses that were used to pull the carcasses of hunted wild horses back to camp, where all horses were eventually slaughtered for meat. This would at least oppose the final line (line 55) - that there is a "relationship to horses beyond that of merely hunting them as a source of meat".
If the # of butchered horse bones < untouched horse bones, this strengthens everything that has already been stated in the passage. It's okay if there is a small # of butchered horse bones, since we do know that there were SOME wild horses that were hunted (line 50), so long as that number does not overwhelmingly exceed the horses used for companionship & riding.