Nicola Martellozzo

Recreating the Primordial Horse. Notes on the Breeding-back of the Tarpan Horse

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Tarpan, Breeding-back, Heck brothers, Ersatz, Simulation

This article aims to investigate the attempt to recreate the Tarpan, a subspecies of the horse, definitively extinct in the nineteenth century. This primordial horse, Urwildpferde, fascinated many scientists since its discovery. Despite their extinction, tarpan horses still exist thanks to the work of three zoologists in the twentieth century. The Polish professor Tadeusz Vetulani tried to manage the regeneration using the forest of Bia³owie¿a, a simulacrum of the original European habitat. The Heck brothers chose another direction. Through the support of the Nazi government, they started a selective breeding process to restore the original tarpan horse, a practice called «breeding-back». Despite the exterior similarity, Heck horses are cultural simulations of the Tarpan, what we propose to call Ersatz, relating to the work of Philip Dick.

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