History of the horse - Equus horse
Evolution of horses is fascinating, Parahippus is an extinct relative of the modern horse.
This animal had a prolonged skull and facial structure resembling modern horse of today.
It was from North America and its ancestors are believed to be Miohippus that remained on the steppes.
Parahippus was about the size of a small pony and larger than Miohippus, with longer legs and face.
The bones in the legs were fused and this, along with muscle development, allowed Parahippus to move with forward-and-back strides.
Flexible leg rotation was eliminated, so that the animal was better adapted to fast forward running on open ground without moving from side to side.
Its third toe was strong and carried the main weight of the body, instead of walking on pads, which gave it the ability to run, faster; ligaments under the fetlock to the big central toe supported its weight.
The side toes were almost vestigial, and seldom touched the ground.
This extinct animal was a grazer and lived in herds. It lived in the middle of the Miocene epoch times.
He had relatively short hind legs, but was an effective runner and grazer.
It was about 89cm (35in) tall; at the time it was the tallest equine to have existed.
The muzzle was longer, the jaw deeper, and the eyes wider apart than any other horse-like animal to date.
The brain was also much larger, making it smarter and more agile. Merychippus was the first equine to have the distinctive head of today's horses.
The hind legs had side toes, but the side toes equipped with small hooves.
These side toes remained off the ground and probably only touched the ground when travelling fast.
Scroll down from history of the horse for more information on the equus horse.
History of the horse - equid - 4 > > Home
Tarpan - extinct horse type -6
Hyracotherium - early equid - 1
Mesohippus - early equid - 2
Miohippus - early equid - 3
Hipparion - Phiohippus- Dinohippus - Plesippus - equid -5
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