The equid fossil can be traced back over a period of more than 50 million years.
The early ancestors of the modern horse of today Hyracotherium (Eohippus), also known as Eohippus also known as the (Dawn horse) was about as big as a fox (a small animal)and walked on spread out toes.
It had four toes on its fore feet and three on its hind feet that touched the ground.
These mammals lived in North America in early Eocene and were herbivorous browsers in the lower-lying lands.
Fossil remains of this tiny horse were found across North America and into Europe.
The first discovery was when scientist’s unearthed fossil remains of Hyracotherium (Eohippus), in 1839.
The remains were found at Studd Hill in Kent, England.
It was identified incorrectly as belonging to Hyrax (a rabbit like mammal).
It was Sir Clive Foster-Cooper in 1932 who realised that the fossils that were found at Stud Hill in Kent. England were that of Hyracotherium (Eohippus), belonging to the European variety.
In 1876, scientists discovered a nearly complete skeleton of Hyracotherium (Eohippus).
It was discovered in the Eocene rock formations in Wyoming, America.
Scientists also discovered the remains of another Hyracotherium (Eohippus), which was found in the Big horn Basin in Wyoming in 1931.
This skeleton was reconstructed and provided the most accurate representation of Eohippus, the Dawn horse.
The skeleton stood 14 inches (35cm) high at the shoulder and the estimated weight would have been 12lb or 5.5kg.
It is thought the smallest Hyracotherium (Eohippus) may have been around 10 inches or 25 cms tall; standing at the shoulder, with some being twice that size with the possibility of even larger types existed in Europe.
With sea, levels being much lower over 50 million years ago than today, and land bridges between Asia and North America and across the Mediterranean (Med) from Italy and the Iberian Peninsula to North Africa, and across the English Channel.
It was therefore possible for the Hyracotherium (Eohippus) to roam freely through Europe,USA and Asia, adapting to the climate and also the landscape where ever it lived.
Scroll down from history of horses for more information on ancient horse.
Equus - 1 > > Home
Mesohippus - early equid - 2
Miohippus - early equid - 3
Parahippus - Merychippus- equid - 4
Hipparion - Phiohippus- Dinohippus - Plesippus - equid - 5
Tarpan - extinct horse type -6
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