Horse history is fascinating and early equids (ancient horses) passed through many stages of evolution.
The early ancestors of the modern horse walked on several spread-out toes, an accommodation to life spent walking on the soft, moist grounds of primeval forests.
As grass species began to appear and flourish, the equids' diets shifted from foliage to a range of vegetation, leading to larger and more durable teeth.
In the late Eocene and the early stages of the Oligocene epoch, the climate of North America became drier, and the earliest grasses began to evolve.
The forests were giving way to flatlands, and various kinds of brush.
In a few areas, these planes were covered in sand, creating the type of environment resembling the present-day prairies.
Some species were significantly larger and leggier than its predecessors, which enabled them to cover the ground at a faster speed in open areas of land.
Mesohippus walked on three toes on each of its front and hind feet.
The first and fifth toes remained, but were very small and not used for walking as they were raised off the ground.
Mesohippus had six grinding “cheek teeth “, with a single premolar in front and a sharp teeth crests, a trait that all descendant Equidae would retain.
It also had the sharp tooth crests of Epihippus, improving its ability to grind down tough vegetation.
Mesohippus was slightly larger than Epihippus, about 610 mm (24") at the shoulder.
Its back was less arched, and its face, snout, and neck were somewhat longer.
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Horse history -Miohippus - 3 > > Home
Hyracotherium - early equid - 1
Mesohippus - early equid - 2
Parahippus - Merychippus- equid - 4
Hipparion - Phiohippus- Dinohippus - Plesippus - equid -5
Tarpan - extinct horse type -6
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