Tarpans, may have well been the last surviving population of European wild horses, or maybe not!
The Tarpan, whether ancestor of modern day horses, or just another feral population, lives on in the genes of the equids extant today. Konik, Hegardt, Heck or whatever else we choose to call our modern day interpretation of the Tarpan, we must not forget they went extinct not too long ago. Although the Heck brothers believed that they could back-breed the Tarpan into extancy, and despite their wonderful results, this thinking is fundamentally flawed. There is a general lack of supporting evidence to claim that the Tarpan was a true wild horse, evidence (…) “is limited to osteological material of two specimens and it has not been reliably identified with Pleistocene or Holocene local populations,” so it does not come as a surprise that “its status as a wild rather than a feral form is disputed.” Grubb (2005). It seems at times that the movement to consider the Tarpan finally back-bred into existence is possibly plagued by issues of natural pride, or even romantic naturalistic views of re-wilding our landscapes with Pleistocene portraits.