ADVERTISEMENT

A Visual History of Ancient Miniature Horses [Slide Show]

Eight equines that paved the way for the massive modern horse

1 of 8

Equus ferus caballus

The modern pony has been bred to perform all sorts of functions—from pulling loads to looking pretty. They may have been domesticated from a short, stout Northern European wild Equus ferus .....[ More ]

Hippidion

Hippidion , or "little horse," genus was one of the ancient genera that lived into the current Holocene epoch, existing in South America two million to about 10,000 years ago. Like many ancient horses, it stood less than 1.5 meters high and was about the size of a Welsh pony.....[ More ]

Hypohippus

Strutting through the ancient western states of Colorado, Montana and Nebraska some 17 million to 11 million years ago, Hypohippus was a three-toed early equine. As its name "low horse" indicates, it was also not much bigger than a pony.....[ More ]

Hipparion

Galloping across four continents for nearly 12 million years (23 million to 781,000 years ago), the Hipparion genus was by all accounts extremely successful. Termed "pony" in Greek, these horses were indeed close to modern-day pony size, weighing between 63 and 119 kilograms and standing about 1.4 meters at the shoulder.....[ More ]

Mesohippus

This early horse relative lived in North America about 40 million to 30 million years ago. Mesohippus (or "middle horse") was about as tall as Hyracotherium but had developed a larger brain that more closely resembled that of a modern horse.....[ More ]

Orohippus

The Orohippus —or "mountain horse" genus also emerged during the Eocene about 50 million years ago. These lean-legged horse ancestors were about the same size as Hyracotherium .....[ More ]

Hyracotherium

This genus of small early horse roamed the early woodlands of Asia, Europe and North America some 55 million to 45 million years ago. It was already larger than Sifrhippus , weighing about 22.7 kilograms.....[ More ]

Sifrhippus

The Sifrhippus sandrae is one of the earliest-known North American horse relatives. It lived during the Eocene epoch, some 55.6 million years ago. It was also one of the smallest. When it trotted onto the scene, it weighed just 5.6 kilograms.....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Share this Article:
Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get the
latest special collector's edition, Dinosaurs!

Limited Time Offer!

Purchase Now >

X

Email this Article

X