This famous little equid was once recognized of the charming title “Eohippus”, meaning “start horse”

This famous little equid was once recognized of the charming title “Eohippus”, meaning “start horse”

II. Timescale and you may Horse Family members Forest

And you will right here is the forest. observe that this new timescale is a bit weird (age.grams. the fresh new Oligocene is actually compacted almost to nothing) to keep it away from being too much time. The labels into the tree try genus labels, so recall that every genus encompasses a group off closely related species.

III. Quick Eocene Ponies

The initial equid is actually Hyracotherium, a little forest animal of your early Eocene. That it little animal (10-20″ during the shoulder) seemed next to nothing such a horse. They had an excellent “doggish” search with a curved back, brief shoulder, quick snout, small foot, and you may long-tail. They searched into the good fresh fruit and you may pretty silky dried leaves, and most likely scampered out-of thicket to thicket such as a modern muntjac deer, merely stupider, slowly, and never just like the nimble. Specific Hyracotherium qualities to remember:

  • Legs was in fact flexible and rotatable with all of significant bones present and unfused.
  • cuatro base for each front-foot, 3 to your hind legs. Vestiges away from first (& second, behind) base nevertheless introduce. Hyracotherium strolled toward shields; its ft was indeed such as for example an effective pet’s padded feet, except with brief “hoofies” on every bottom in the place of claws.
  • Quick attention which have specifically small front lobes.
  • Low-crowned white teeth having step three incisors, step 1 your dog, cuatro distinctive line of premolars and you may step 3 “grinding” molars in both sides of each and every chin (this is actually the “ancient mammalian algorithm” out of white teeth). The new cusps of one’s molars was a little connected within the reduced crests. Typical white teeth away from an enthusiastic omnivorous web browser.

At this point in the early Eocene, equids just weren’t yet , totally different from the almost every other perissodactyl teams; the newest Hyracotherium genus boasts certain varieties directly linked to (if you don’t ancestral to) rhinos and you will tapirs, together with species that are distinctly equine. [Note: the specific variety one to most likely offered go up to your rest of this new equids, H. vassacciense, ed, perhaps to help you “Protorohippus”.]

Even when into the retrospect we possibly may envision Hyracotherium become “primitive”, it actually was a very profitable creature in day, and you may seems to have found an enjoyable stable niche to own alone. In fact, throughout the all the Eocene (an effective much time 20 million years), merely slight evolutionary change took place within the Hyracotherium and its close descendants. The human body and you can ft resided mainly a comparable, which have moderate alterations in the brand new foot. The top alter was a student in one’s teeth; as the Eocene equids visited eat more plant browse much less fruit, it put up significantly more milling white teeth to cope with the a little tougher dinner.


In early-middle Eocene (approx fifty My), there’s a silky, gradual changeover from Hyracotherium so you’re able to a member of family, Orohippus (MacFadden, 1976). Complete, Orohippus appeared just like Hyracotherium: 10-20″ highest at neck, nonetheless “doggish” with curved straight back, quick base, brief shoulder, short snout, and you may rather brief attention. Orohippus still had cuatro toes into front and you can step three about, having hoofies, and was also “pad-footed”. not, brand new vestiges of your own first and you will second leg gone away.

The most significant alter was at the teeth. The past premolar altered fit in order to become eg a beneficial molar, giving Orohippus yet another “grinding tooth”. Plus, the newest crests towards teeth was indeed a whole lot more obvious, showing Orohippus are dinner more difficult plant point.


Epihippus emerged regarding Orohippus in-between Eocene (whenever 47 My personal). Such as for instance Orohippus and you may Hyracotherium, Epihippus is small, doggish, pad-footed, and you may brief-brained, which have 4 feet at the front and you will 3 about. Yet not, enamel progression is actually carried on. Today the final a couple premolars had been such molars, providing Epihippus four grinding cheek white teeth. The fresh crests to the cheek pearly whites were well-shaped, whilst still being reduced-crowned.

There can be a late version of Epihippus both titled Duchesnehippus. It is unsure if this is a subgenus otherwise a types of Epihippus. Which creature had been an enthusiastic Epihippus that have pearly whites like, however, a bit more ancient than simply, afterwards Oligocene horses.