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Thu Jul 28, 2022, 04:26 PM

Beloved Chincoteague ponies' mythical origins may be real

The discovery of a fossil horse tooth in Haiti has given surprising credence to the idea the horses escaped from a Spanish shipwreck off Virginia around 1750.

On Virginia’s Chincoteague Island, wild ponies reign supreme. These compact, colorful horses with shaggy manes live in small herds of a stallion and several mares, combing the beaches and snacking on marsh grasses. Popular tourist draws, these ponies were made famous by Marguerite Henry’s 1947 novel Misty of Chincoteague. Each July, tens of thousands of people visit to watch hundreds of the horses swim across the channel from nearby Assateague Island, after which the equines are sold at auction to keep the population in check.

Despite their celebrity, the ponies’ origin is shrouded in mystery. Local lore claims the ponies are descended from horses that swam ashore following the sinking of a Spanish galleon off the Virginia coast sometime around 1750.

But with no documentation of the lost ship, many historians believe the ponies are instead the progeny of runaway livestock, meaning that their origins are much more recent.

Now, DNA preserved in a fossilized horse tooth found 1,200 miles away in the Caribbean may lend credence to this supposedly mythical shipwreck. In a study published today in the journal PLOS One, researchers posit that the tooth belonged to a cousin of the ponies roving Virginia and Maryland’s barrier islands.

Importantly, both the Caribbean horse and Chincoteague ponies share an evolutionary lineage that originated in Bronze Age Spain, says study co-author Nicolas Delsol, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Florida.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/famous-chincoteague-ponies-may-actually-descend-from-a-spanish-shipwreck?rid=2D7EBD8232363870D75E126868635ACF&cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=Animals_20220728


One of my first horse books: "Misty of Chincoteague."

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Reply Beloved Chincoteague ponies' mythical origins may be real (Original post)
Bayard Jul 2022 OP
elleng Jul 2022 #1
Solly Mack Jul 2022 #2
Duppers Jul 2022 #3
Bayard Jul 2022 #18
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2022 #4
tosh Jul 2022 #12
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2022 #13
tosh Jul 2022 #19
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2022 #20
Wicked Blue Jul 2022 #5
momta Jul 2022 #6
demmiblue Jul 2022 #7
malaise Jul 2022 #8
Sky Jewels Jul 2022 #9
Backseat Driver Jul 2022 #10
gab13by13 Jul 2022 #11
twodogsbarking Jul 2022 #14
shanti Jul 2022 #15
Celerity Jul 2022 #16
TNNurse Jul 2022 #17
Captain Zero Jul 2022 #21

Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 04:30 PM

1. WOW!

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 04:36 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 04:55 PM

3. Wow!

I live less than 3hrs away but have never seen them.


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Response to Duppers (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 08:46 PM

18. Road trip!!

Take many pictures!

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 04:56 PM

4. Awww! Same here! One of my first books, too!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 06:25 PM

12. Count me in!

It was my first favorite book and I remember DEMANDING to have it read to me again and again, lol.

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Response to tosh (Reply #12)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 06:41 PM

13. My cousin, the closest I had to a sister, was big on horses, so I was given that book, too

We shared more books than I can count as little kids. Her mother, my aunt, got me a Little Golden Book on every weekly grocery shopping trip. And our grandmother, who was a teacher, not only got us books, but read them to us, too, long after we learned to read ourselves.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 08:47 PM

19. Great, warm memories!

You and I were fortunate to come from families of readers and book lovers.

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Response to tosh (Reply #19)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 08:52 PM

20. With all those Golden Books, I had my own "library" before I could even read...

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 05:21 PM

5. The wild ponies on Assateague in Maryland are something else, I tell you

At some point in the afternoon, a group of about 15 will appear on the beach.

They shamelessly browse among the visitors' beach blankets, snatching whatever edibles appeal to them. They will walk right up to you and grab bags of snacks at your feet.

Once they are satisfied, they actually line up and pose for the cameras. It's as though someone trained them.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 05:29 PM

6. My daughter is about to move to Maryland.

This might have to be a side trip for me when I go visit.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 05:34 PM

7. A childhood favorite!

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 05:46 PM

8. This is not farfetched- it's fascinating

I spent a fair amount of time looking at fundamental political change following hurricanes in the Caribbean and even the Haitian Revolution benefitted from foreign ships and men being destroyed by hurricanes. More than a few slave rebellions and strikes on sugar plantations followed hurricanes and the destruction of the they left for our people.
Weather and other natural disasters have had a profound impact on developments in our hemisphere.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 06:03 PM

9. I must have read "Misty" ten times when I was a kid...

... as well as all the other Marguerite Henry books. I was a horse freak girl, to put it mildly.

I never knew that the origins of the Assateague/Chincoteague ponies were disputed -- I always assumed the Spanish galleon story was true.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 06:23 PM

10. We had a birthday book club in which one donated a book to the

elementary school library on one's birthday noted by a tag on the fly page: This book donated by X on (date) in honor of his/her birthday. I seem to remember that I picked out "Misty of Chincoteague" for my birthday donation one year. At some point, Wesley Dennis, the illustrator who often did drawings of horses for Ms Henry's books visited our elementary school. One of his works, quite large, hung in the lobby area outside the school office.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Dennis_(illustrator)

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 06:24 PM

11. Went on vacation

sometime around 1979. We saw a sign that said wild pony trail, and so after about a 10 minute walk we were hit with around 1 million mosquitoes. We didn't know which was faster, to go forward of back. I put our 4 year old on my shoulders and we hoofed it out.

Obviously didn't see any wild ponies.

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Response to gab13by13 (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 06:51 PM

14. The state bird. They will bite through your shirt.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 07:04 PM

15. I loved all of the horse books too

and had a collection of Breyer horse figures to play with, back in the 60's. Sadly, no real ones. Going on a trip to Chincoteague is on my bucket list, it sounds awesome!

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 07:10 PM

16. Salem 66 - Across The Sea / Pony Song





Label: Homestead Records – HMS 006
Format:
Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single
Country: US
Released: 1984
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock









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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2022, 07:15 PM

17. Went to Chincoteague last year.

Saw the ponies by boat tour...wonderful.

Went to the town museum....Misty is there...stuffed. Really, honest.

Wonderful ice cream place, we went back several times.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Jul 29, 2022, 12:27 AM

21. My daughter read the books so

We took a summer vacation there. Really nice. Lots of fun. But. Horseflies bigger than you've ever seen in your life. You might want to try a spring or fall trip to see if you can miss them.

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