Equid Fossils: Horses | Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store

Equid Fossils: Horses


            Equids are the clade of perissodactyls that includes all horses, asses, and zebras. Like most creatures, Equids would start from humble beginnings, with the earliest species, such as the North American Eohippus of the Miocene epoch (approximately 52 million years ago), being the size of a dog. From the Eocene onward, Equids would evolve from five-toed forest dwellers to the long-legged, one-toed runners of today. The fossil record has revealed these changes in their evolution with a multitude of transitional forms from numerous species. The following Oligocene epoch saw the reduction of forest environments and the introduction of more flatlands. Equids coped very well with the changing environment, as their stocky feet with reduced outer toes allowed them to outrun predators on their now-enlarged middle toe. In addition to increased body size and a reduction in toes, Equids are also noted for evolving specialized teeth to chew the course grasses that had spread during the Miocene epoch. Today, Equus is the only genus of Equid to have survived to the present, and has been domesticated by humans on a global scale (the oldest known domestication of an Equid was that of the wild ass in ancient Egypt approximately 5,000 years ago).

Click on the images below to see the incredible fossils we offer in our Equid selection: