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Even the Wild Horses

A new project plans to test the wild horses living on North Carolina's Outer Banks to pin down their origins, the Raleigh News and Observer reports.

It adds that historians suspect the horses — which currently number about 100 — are descendants of mustangs Spanish settlers brought to the region about 500 years ago. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund has so far collected DNA samples from 10 members of the herd using darts for analysis, the News and Observer notes. With this data, the Fund says it hopes to create lineages for each horse to determine their relationships to one another and help manage breeding.

"The results do also give us information on breeds most highly represented in each horse, and eventually we would like to be able to learn more about both Spanish and other ancestry, but that's a bit down the road," Meg Puckett, the herd manager with the Fund, tells the paper. "Right now, we've just thrown the net out."

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