Equine Evolution part 1

From Dawn to Now.

In the past 55 million years, the Horse has gone from looking like a four toed dog (Dawn Horse), to what we know today. The evolution chart below only follows the evolution of the the modern horse.  It is speculated that the zebra and modern ass descended out of the Dinohippus/Hippidon line at least 2 Million Years ago.(1)

6,000 years ago Equine Fossils begin to show up in groups in Kazakhstan.  This most likely points to the time where people started to domesticate, and raise horses as livestock.  The first people raised horses for milk and meat, much like we raise cattle today.  It is between 4, 000 and 3,000 BCE where we begin to see small wild Caballine horses, similar to the Caspian ,start being taken into captivity for domestic breeding.  The Przewalski’s Horse  is the only  wild Caballine Horse still in existence today.

Recent scientific studies have show that horses were not domesticated out of one area as previously thought.  The peoples across Eurasia began to capture, domesticate and selectively breed as the technology to do so was shared with them.  Utilizing the surrounding grasslands, and shrinking bands of wild horses, they managed the breeding of their herds, and prevented long term inbreeding.   (2)  The variations of climate and selection of breeding, caused differences in ‘old world’ domesticated horses.  Many of these differences can be seen in the modern ‘new world’ breeds today.

 

marsh_huxley_horseThis drawing shows the evolution from 3 toes to the most recent evolution of a single hoof capsule.

Modern Horse

Pliohippus

 

 

Hipparion

 

Miohippus

 

 

Mesohippus

 

Orohippus

 

 

Also note the transformation of the teeth, and the need for front teeth for more ripping of the grassland forage in the Pliohippus and Equus.  The Dawn horse was more a leaf eater, and gathered smaller, fallen grasses and leaves.

2My
tvn2c_anglonormanne

Old & New World Equus

                \  |  /
                 \ | /
4My   Hippidion  Equus                                           Stylohipparion
         |        |                   Neohipparion   Hipparion   Cormohipparion
         |        |    Astrohippus         |           |             |
         |        |    Pliohippus          ---------------------------
12My     Dinohippus    Calippus                     \  |  /
             |          |         Pseudhipparion     \ | /
             |          |              |               |
             -------------------------------------------     Sinohippus
15My                  \  |  /                                 |
                       \ | /                     Megahippus   |
17My                Merychippus                      |        |
              1 larger toe, 2 small toes             |        |      
                         |           Anchitherium    Hypohippus
                         |                 |           |
23My                Parahippus             Anchitherium             Archeohippus
                         |                       |                       |
                  (Kalobatippus?)-----------------------------------------
25My                              \  |  /
                                   \ | /
                                     |
35My                                 |
mioh

Miohippus

   



   
                        
 

                    

     Mesohippus
                  

                   |                         |
40My               |                         |
mesorec

Mesohippus – Had only 3 toes

                                          |
                                          |
                                          |
45My                      Paleotherium    |
                              |          Epihippus
                              |              |
                       Propalaeotherium      |       Haplohippus
                              |              |       |
50My         Pachynolophus    |              Orohippus
                   |          |                 |
                   |          |                 |
                   ------------------------------
                                    \  |  /
                                     \ | /
55My
hyracoskel

Dawn Horse: Hyracotherium – Had 4 Toes

 

(1) Orlando, Ludovic, Equids, Current Biology, Volume 25, Issue 20, http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01084-2
(2) Widespread Origins of Domestic Horse Lineages, JENNIFER A. LEONARD, ANDERS GÖTHERSTRÖM, STEFAN MARKLUND, KAJ SANDBERG, KERSTIN LIDÉN, ROBERT K. WAYNE, HANS ELLEGREN, SCIENCE19 JAN 2001 : 474-477
Fossil Pictures from Florida Museum of Natural History: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/fhc/Stratmap1.htm
Hunt Kathleen, 1995, January 4, Talk Orgins, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/horses/horse_evol.html#part1
Archeolgy Magazine, 2015, June 4, http://www.archaeology.org/issues/180-1507/features/3346-horse-from-prey-to-domestication

 

 

 

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