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Temporal range: Mid Miocene to Pleistocene,[1] 23–0.781 Ma
Fossils - Museu Geològic del Seminari de Barcelona 03.JPG
H. mediterraneum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Hipparion
De Christol, 1832
  • H. concudense
  • H. dietrichi
  • H. fissurae
  • H. forcei
  • H. laromae
  • H. lufengense
  • H. molayanense
  • H. phlegrae
  • H. prostylum
  • H. sellardsi
  • H. shirleyae
  • H. tehonense

Hipparion (Greek, "pony") is an extinct genus of horse living in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa during the Miocene through Pleistocene ~23 Mya—781,000 years ago, existing for 22 million years.

Its habitat or biome would be that of non-forested, grassy plains, shortgrass prairie or steppes.


Painting of Hipparion
Jaw of Hipparion rocinantis crusafonti.

Hipparion was named by de Christol (1832) with it assigned the type European H. prostylum. It was assigned to Equidae by de Christol (1832), Thurmond and Jones (1981) and Carroll (1988); and to Hipparionini by MacFadden (1998).[2][3][4]


Hipparion resembled the modern horse, but still had two vestigal outer toes (in addition to its hoof). These did not touch the ground. Hipparion was about 1.4 metres (13.3 hands) tall at the shoulder.[1]

Body mass[edit]

Three specimens were examined by Legendre and Roth for body mass.[5]

  • Specimen 1 was estimated to weigh: 118.9 kg (260 lb)
  • Specimen 2 was estimated to weigh: 69.4 kg (150 lb)
  • Specimen 3 was estimated to weigh: 62.8 kg (140 lb)


  • H. concudense was named by Pirlot (1956). Fossil distribution: Casa del Acero site, Murcia, Spain and Masia de La Roma site, Aragon, Spain. It was endemic to Southwestern Europe ~11.6—5.3 Mya.
  • H. dietrichi was named by Wehrli (1941). Fossil distribution: Macedonia and Nikiti, Greece. It was endemic to Southeastern Europe ~9 —5.3 Mya.
  • H. fissurae was named by Crusafont and Sondaar (1971). Fossil distribution: Soria, Spain. It was endemic to Southwestern Europe ~5.3 —3.4 Mya.
  • H. forcei was named by Richey (1948). Fossil distribution: Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles counties. It was endemic to western North America ~23—5.3 Mya.
  • H. laromae was named by Pesquero et al. (2006). Fossil distribution: Teruel, Spain. It was endemic to Southwestern Europe. ~9.7—8.7 Mya.
  • H. lufengense Sun, 2013[6]
  • H. molayanense was named by Zouhri (1992). Fossil distribution: Afghanistan. It was endemic to Southwest Asia ~9—5.3 Mya.
  • H. phlegrae Lazaridis and Tsoukala, 2014[7]
  • H. prostylum Gervais, 1849
  • H. sellardsi was named by Matthew and Stirton (1930).
  • H. shirleyae was named by MacFadden (1984).
  • H. tehonense was named by Stirton (1940). Fossil distribution: North America, widespread from Florida to California. ~23.3—5.3 Mya.


  1. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 257. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  2. ^ J. T. Thurmond and D. E. Jones. 1981. Fossil Vertebrates of Alabama 1-244
  3. ^ R. L. Carroll. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York 1-698
  4. ^ B. J. MacFadden. 1998. Equidae. In C. M. Janis, K. M. Scott, and L. L. Jacobs (eds.), Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America 1:537-559
  5. ^ S. Legendre and C. Roth. 1988. Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (Mammalia). Historical Biology 1(1):85-98
  6. ^ Bo-Yang Sun (2013). "The Miocene Hipparion (Equidae, Perissodactyla) from Shihuiba Locality, Lufeng, Yunnan". Vertebrata PalAsiatica 51 (2): 141–161.
  7. ^ Georgios Lazaridis and Evangelia Tsoukala (2014). "Hipparion phlegrae, sp. nov. (Mammalia, Perissodactyla): a new species from the Turolian locality of Kryopigi (Kassandra, Chalkidiki, Greece)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34 (1): 164–178. doi:10.1080/02724634.2013.781033.