Mesohippus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mesohippus
Temporal range: Middle EoceneEarly Oligocene
Mesohippus barbouri Harvard.jpg
M. barbouri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Subfamily: Anchitheriinae
Genus: Mesohippus
Marsh, 1875
Species
  • See text

Mesohippus (Greek: μεσο/meso meaning "middle" and ιππος/hippos meaning "horse") is an extinct genus of early horse. It lived some 30 to 40 million years ago from the Middle Eocene to the Early Oligocene.[1] Like many fossil horses, Mesohippus was common in North America.

Description[edit]

Restoration

Mesohippus had longer legs than its predecessor Eohippus and stood about 60 cm {6 hands} tall. It had also lost a toe and stood predominantly on its middle toe, although the other two were also used.[2] The face of Mesohippus was longer and larger than earlier equids. It had a slight facial fossa, or depression, in the skull. The eyes were rounder, and were set wider apart and farther back than in Hyracotherium.

Skeleton

Unlike earlier horses, its teeth were low crowned and contained a single gap behind the front teeth, where the bit now rests in the modern horse. In addition, it had another grinding tooth, making a total of six. Mesohippus was a browser that fed on tender twigs and fruit.[2] The cerebral hemisphere, or cranial cavity, was notably larger than that of its predecessors; its brain was similar to that of modern horses.

Species[edit]

  • M. bairdi
  • M. barbouri
  • M. braquistylus
  • M. equiceps
  • M. hypostylus
  • M. intermedius
  • M. latidens
  • M. longiceps
  • M. metulophus
  • M. montanensis
  • M. obliquidens
  • M. proteulophus
  • M. westoni

References[edit]

  1. ^ McKenna, M. C.; Bell, S. K. (1997). Classification of Mammals: Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press. p. 631. ISBN 978-0-231-11013-6. 
  2. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 255. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.