WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — Archaeologists have found the first direct evidence for horseback riding in 5,000 year old skeletons in central Europe.

The advent of horseback riding transformed human history by accelerating trade, communications and warfare.

These early riders belonged to a people called the Yamnaya, who originated in parts of what is today Ukraine and western Russia.

The researchers identified them as riders based on six tell-tale markers that indicate a person was likely riding an animal, including characteristic wear marks on the hip sockets and pelvis.

The Yamnaya expanded across Eurasia, from Hungary to Mongolia, and their relationship with horses may have enabled these great migrations.