The Evolution of a Horse Essay

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The Evolution of a Horse Throughout history, humans have depended on the horse. Horses have contributed to the growth of humankind as transportation, farm workers, and battle steeds. They have been trained to support humans in many ways. When did this relationship begin? At what point did the horse become a vital part of human society? Exploring the evolution of the horse can help to answer these questions. A mammal with hooves that have an odd number of toes on the rear feet are known as odd-toed ungulates. The middle toe on each rear hoof is usually larger than the ones next to them. Horses are members of the odd-toed ungulates which includes the horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses. They are relatively large grazing animals with …show more content…
The Evolution of a Horse Throughout history, humans have depended on the horse. Horses have contributed to the growth of humankind as transportation, farm workers, and battle steeds. They have been trained to support humans in many ways. When did this relationship begin? At what point did the horse become a vital part of human society? Exploring the evolution of the horse can help to answer these questions. A mammal with hooves that have an odd number of toes on the rear feet are known as odd-toed ungulates. The middle toe on each rear hoof is usually larger than the ones next to them. Horses are members of the odd-toed ungulates which includes the horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses. They are relatively large grazing animals with only one stomach. They digest plant materials in their intestines rather than in their stomachs as the even-toed ungulates do. (Wikipedia, 1) By the beginning of the Eocene period some fifty-five million years ago, these mammals had spread to occupy many different continents. Horses and Tapirs evolved first in North America. However, the horse’s evolution did not follow a straight path. Many varieties of equids often flourished at about the same time. Also different traits evolved at different times, and even reversed (Hunt, 2). “Paleontologist Michael Voorhies… characterizes the evolution of horses as more like a bush than a tree, with starts and stops and jumps in the development of genetic traits” (“Wild Horses: Equus Family Tree”

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