Ancient ancestors of horses - what were they?

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Surely many were interested in the question, where did the horses come from? Do these animals have a connection with zebras and what did the most ancient ancestor of the horse look like? In our article you will find interesting facts and videos on this topic.

From whom did the horses come?

According to scientists, the most ancient ancestor of the mount lived about 54 million years ago. He laid the foundation for a mammalian species like zebras. Since the period of residence of the horse ancestor was called Eocene, its original name sounded like "eohippus". Later, the eo-hippus was called "gyracotrium".

Outwardly, this animal looked like anyone, just not a horse. He had an arcuate back, a small height (about a small dog, about 30 cm), as well as a long tail. The teeth of the primitive mammal were lumpy, that is, unlike the teeth of modern horses. If now the horses are pinching and rubbing grass, then the most ancient gyracotrium plucked the leaves of the shoots, as if removing them from the base of the plant.

The front legs of gyracterium had four toes and small hoofs, the back legs had three toes without hoofs. The habitat of the animal were flat areas of East Asia, as well as wet forests of North America and light forests of Europe. Subsequently, Orohippus became a descendant of gyracterium. In the next video, we propose to watch a documentary film about wild mustangs, from which you will learn about the life and lifestyle of these animals.

The most ancient species

Have you ever seen the most ancient types of horses? In the process of evolution of gyracterium, they more and more resembled a modern horse, and, finally, they acquired such a form as in our days. Next we will tell more about each of them.

Orohippus

A descendant of gyracterium was orogippus, which had a height of less than half a meter and put a growth in the evolutionary chain of modern horses. He had a fixed, stubby short mane (similar to a brush), as well as a semi-tall tail and light gray hair (light brown stripes and brown legs). The four-fingered one was preserved by the orogippus on the front legs, but the rear ones were with three fingers and hoof buds. There was a significant development of the middle fingers on all limbs.

The middle finger of the ancient horses was stronger; in the process of evolution, two lateral fingers ceased to be necessary, and hoofs appeared, like in modern horses. In the process of evolution, the lateral fingers more resembled small bony protrusions above the hooves. The change in the shape and type of the limb was explained by the fact that the orohyppuses moved to solid soils with shrub and grass vegetation.

The fast-paced run of a modern horse is the result of living on a rather comfortable terrain for running: steppe, hilly, flat. By the way, fast speed jumps and saved the oroppies from the attack of larger, predatory animals.

Meso-hippus

The three-toed mammal that lived immediately after the oro-hippus and gyracottery in the Oligocene. Had the size of an average sheep and brown color. The tail was long, also with sparse vegetation, the muzzle and mane are short, the eyes are large, the front part of the muzzle is slightly rounded.

Anhiteria

Ankhiterii was also a three-fingered descendant of the eo-hippus. This branch of mammals died out about 5 million years ago and, unfortunately, did not leave any descendants. In size it was larger than the orogippus — approximately from a small pony, slightly smaller than a large sheep. The color of the horse was sandy with implicitly pronounced gray or brown stripes.

When on the earth (approximately 25 million years ago) there appeared spaces without forests - plains, savannas, heaths - anchiteria reached dry meadows. As well as orogippus, wild anchiteria ran fast, they could cover long distances throughout the day in search of food and safe places.

Pliogippus

The penultimate of all who preceded the modern horses. Pliogippus lived about 2 million years ago in the forests of North America. His jaws were already adapted for chewing coarse grass. The legs of the animal were longer, and the body is much slimmer and more maneuverable than the ancestors. The mane was short and thick, legs with well-shaped hooves, but rudimentary toes on the sides.

Hipparion

The last three-fingered horse. Outwardly gazelle-like hipparion lived in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe. The abundance of representatives of this species was enormous, which somehow explains why horses are so common in the modern world. Hipparion's favorite food is shrubs, grass. The last hipparion died 1.25 million years ago.

Equus

Equus was a bit like a zebra, because it had well-defined stripes on the body and the same short mane. However, the mane was already softer and slightly longer, the tail had thicker hair, and its hooves were well formed. Rudimentary fingers were missing. Scientists also call equus wild horse. Branches of the genus Equus - forest and steppe tarpan, extinct at the beginning of the 20th century, and the Przewalski horse.

Przewalski's horse

It was discovered by the scientist N. M. Przhevalsky during a trip to Tibet (the journey took place in 1879, a description of the species in 1881). Inhabits currently in protected areas and protected areas in Asia, America and Europe, as well as in the exclusion zone (the region of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant). According to zoologists, at the liberty of the Przhevalsky horse, three full herds were formed. Also, the animal is contained in the world's largest zoos and reserves (for example, in the Mongolian National Park Hustain-Nuruu). Horse size: height - 130 cm, body length - 2 meters, weight - up to 350 kg. The color is brown-golden, legs and tail are black. The mane is short, soft and fluffy.

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