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Featured Article: Horse
The horse or domestic horse (Equus caballus) is a sizable ungulate ("hoofed") mammal of the family Equidae and the genus Equus. Among the 10 living members of the Equus genus are zebras, donkeys, Przewalski's Horse (a rare Asian species), and hemionids (Onager or Equus hemionus). The donkey (Equus asinus), also known as the burro or domestic ass, like the domestic horse, has many breeds. Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) and the domestic horse are the only equids that can cross-breed and produce fertile offspring.
Horses, one of the most historically vital domesticated animals to humans, have played a central role in the lives of people for tens of thousands of years. No other animal, domestic or wild, has had so great an impact on the history of civilization as has the horse. The horse was an integral element in warfare and conquest, in transportation and travel, and in art and sport. Its beauty and power are legendary. Since ancient times, the horse has been depicted and revered as the noble bearer of heroes, champions, and gods.
In its design, form, and function, the horse is superbly suited as a purely riding animal. Its spine is fixed and rigid and well devised to bear weight. Its stature is tall, a feature that lends any rider a towering advantage in hunting, sport, and warfare. The horse's legs are long, slender, graceful, and, above all, swift. The speed and ability to cover ground has made horses invaluable to people, and remains so today.
The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), was an ancient civilization thriving along the lower Indus River and the Ghaggar River-Hakra River in what is now Pakistan and western India from the twenty-eighth century BCE to the eighteenth century BCE. Another name for this civilization is the Harappan Civilization of the Indus Valley, in reference to its first excavated city of Harappa. The Indus Valley Civilization stands as one of the great early civilizations, alongside ancient Egypt and Sumerian Civilization, as a place where human settlements organized into cities, invented a system of writing and supported an advanced culture. Hinduism and the culture of the Indian people can be regarded as having roots in the life and practices of this civilization. This was a flourishing culture, with artistic and technological development, and no sign of slavery or exploitation of people. The civilization appears to have been stable and its demise was probably due to climactic change, although the Aryan invasion theory (see below) suggests that it fell prey to marauding newcomers.
The Indus Valley Civilization existed along the Indus River in present-day Pakistan. The Mohenjo-daro ruins pictured above were once the center of this ancient society.