Characteristics of a Horse
“Ask me to show you poetry in motion and I will show you a horse.” (Unknown) These graceful and powerful animals are something that interests me. I am truly amazed by their strength, motion, and mind. By the end of these pages I hope to highlight the characteristics that make up these defined creatures.
“For many years, the evolution of the horse was considered to have taken place in a straight line, with a clear and simple move from the earliest fossil horses found to modern day Equus. However, through the continuing discovery of fossils, it is now apparent that the evolution of the horse was far from being that simple. Different horse species evolved at different rates, sometimes showing dramatic changes while at other times exhibiting gradual changes, with many species living alongside one another at the same time.” (Pickeral p.162)
The earliest found fossil of the horse was named the Eohippus, thought to date back sixty million years. Being no bigger than a fox they inhabited the forests of North America. It is guessed that they lived on a diet of fruit and soft foliage. The Eohippus began to spread also across Europe, traveling across a land bridge, but in a continental draft the landbridge was lost and the Eohippus began to evolve in different ways on each side of the sea. In Europe the Eohippus evolved into many different species, that all became extinct about thirty-five million years ago. But in North America they continued to evolve, and developed the Orohippus and Epihippus. Theses were the most dramatic changes in the evolution of the horse.
They began to grow molars to chew the tougher plants and foliage, because of the climate change in North America. Great grassland began to appear, and the Orohippus and Epihippus began to develop stronger and longer legs to help them move faster from predators in the wide open grassland.
About thirty-seven million years ago the Hiplohippus, Mesohippus and Miohippus began...