This popular absolutely nothing equid was once identified because of the charming label “Eohippus”, meaning “dawn horse”

This popular absolutely nothing equid was once identified because of the charming label “Eohippus”, meaning “dawn horse”

II. Timescale and Pony Friends Forest

And you may this is actually the tree. observe that the latest timescale is a little strange (elizabeth.grams. this new Oligocene try compacted nearly to help you little) to keep it from becoming too long. All the brands towards the tree was genus brands, therefore bear in mind that every genus encompasses a cluster off closely related types.

III. Short Eocene Ponies

The first equid was Hyracotherium, a little forest creature of very early Eocene. It little animal (10-20″ on shoulder) checked next to nothing such as for instance a horse. They got a good “doggish” look that have a curved straight back, quick neck, short snout, quick base, and you may long tail. It browsed toward good fresh fruit and you will fairly silky foliage, and most likely scampered off thicket so you can thicket eg a modern muntjac deer, only stupider, slow, and not since the agile. Specific Hyracotherium characteristics to see:

  • Feet have been versatile and you may rotatable with biggest bones expose and unfused.
  • cuatro feet for each front-foot, step three towards the hind base. Vestiges out-of initial (& 2nd, behind) toes nevertheless introduce. Hyracotherium strolled towards pads; the feet were including a beneficial dog’s padded base, except that have brief “hoofies” on each toe as opposed to claws.
  • Brief attention with especially brief front lobes.
  • Low-crowned white teeth having step three incisors, step one canine, cuatro distinct premolars and you can step three “grinding” molars from inside the either side of every jaw (this is actually the “ancient mammalian formula” off white teeth). The new cusps of molars have been quite connected during the lowest crests. Normal white teeth off an omnivorous internet browser.

Thus far in the early Eocene, equids weren’t yet , very different throughout the almost every other perissodactyl communities; the latest Hyracotherium genus has certain variety directly linked to (if you don’t ancestral to) rhinos and you can tapirs, also types that will be decidedly equine. [Note: the variety you to definitely most likely offered go up towards the remainder of the latest equids, H. vassacciense, ed, perhaps so you’re able to “Protorohippus”.]

Even when when you look at the retrospect we would envision Hyracotherium as “primitive”, it was an incredibly winning animal with its big date, and you may seemingly have discovered a nice stable market for in itself. Indeed, throughout the all of the Eocene (an excellent a lot of time 20 billion ages), just minor evolutionary transform taken place from inside the Hyracotherium and its own near descendants. The body and you may feet stayed mainly a similar, that have moderate alterations in brand new base. The big change was a student in the teeth; because Eocene equids started to eat even more plant look and less fruits, they set-up way more grinding white teeth to deal with the latest a bit difficult dining.


During the early-middle Eocene (approx 50 My), there is a softer, steady transition out-of Hyracotherium to a member of family, Orohippus (MacFadden, 1976). Overall, Orohippus featured just like Hyracotherium: 10-20″ higher in the neck, nevertheless “doggish” with arched right back, brief feet, brief neck, brief snout, and you can quite quick mind. Orohippus nonetheless had 4 base to your front and you may step 3 trailing, which have hoofies, and you can was also “pad-footed”. Yet not, brand new vestiges of your very first and you may next foot disappeared.

The largest changes was a student in one’s teeth. The final premolar altered in form to be for example good molar, giving Orohippus yet another “milling enamel”. Including, the brand new crests to your white teeth was more obvious, demonstrating Orohippus try eating harder bush procedure.


Epihippus arose away from Orohippus in between Eocene (whenever 47 My). Such as for instance Orohippus and you will Hyracotherium, Epihippus are small, doggish, pad-footed, and you can brief-brained, with 4 foot in front and 3 behind. not, enamel progression is actually continuous. Now the very last a couple of premolars was in fact such as for instance molars, offering Epihippus five grinding cheek white teeth. This new crests with the cheek teeth was indeed well-formed, nonetheless reduced-crowned.

There’s a late sorts of Epihippus either named Duchesnehippus. It’s uncertain if this is a good subgenus otherwise a types of Epihippus. That it creature was a keen Epihippus having white teeth exactly like, but more ancient than simply, later Oligocene ponies.

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