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Temporal range: Middle Miocene-Late Pliocene
~10.3–3.6 Ma
Dinohippus leidyanus skeleton
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Subfamily: Equinae
Tribe: Equini
Genus: Dinohippus
Quinn, 1955
Type species
Pliohippus leidyanus
  • D. edensis Frick, 1924
  • D. interpolatus Cope, 1893
  • D. leardi Drescher, 1941
  • D. leidyanus Osborn, 1918
  • D. mexicanus Lance, 1950
  • D. osborni Frick, 1924
  • D. pachyops Cope, 1893
  • D. subvenus Quinn, 1955

Dinohippus (Greek: "Terrible horse"[1]) is an extinct equid which was endemic to North America from the late Hemphillian stage of the Miocene through the Zanclean stage of the Pliocene (10.3—3.6 mya) and in existence for approximately 6.7 million years.[2][3] Fossils are widespread throughout North America, being found at more than 30 sites from Florida to Alberta and Panama (Alajuela Formation).



Quinn originally referred "Pliohippus" mexicanus to Dinohippus, but unpublished cladistic results in an SVP 2018 conference abstract suggest that mexicanus is instead more closely related to extant horses than to Dinohippus.[4]


Dinohippus was the most common horse in North America and like Equus, it did not have a dished face. It has a distinctive passive "stay apparatus" formed from bones and tendons to help it conserve energy while standing for long periods. Dinohippus was the first horse to show a rudimentary form of this character, providing additional evidence of the close relationship between Dinohippus and Equus.[5] Dinohippus was originally thought to be a monodactyl horse, but a 1981 fossil find in Nebraska shows that some were tridactyl.[6] The species D. leidyanus had an estimated body mass of approximately 200 kilograms (440 lb).[7]

Foot bones


  1. ^ "Glossary. American Museum of Natural History". Archived from the original on 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ Paleobiology Database: Dinohippus basic info.
  3. ^ Bruce J. MacFadden: Cenozoic Mammalian Herbivores from the Americas: Reconstructing Ancient Diets and Terrestrial Communities. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 31, (2000), pp. 33-59
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2018-09-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Florida Museum of Natural History
  6. ^ "Horse Ecology". Archived from the original on 2020-11-14. Retrieved 2006-11-06.
  7. ^ M. Mendoza, C. M. Janis, and P. Palmqvist. 2006. Estimating the body mass of extinct ungulates: a study on the use of multiple regression. Journal of Zoology