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Temporal range: late Miocene-Pliocene
Nannippus jaw.JPG
Jaw of Nannippus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Subfamily: Equinae
Tribe: Hipparionini
Genus: Nannippus
Matthew, 1926

Nannippus is an extinct genus of three-toed horse endemic to North America during the Miocene through Pliocene, about 13.3—3.3 million years ago (Mya), living around 11.1 million years.[1][2][3] This ancient species of three-toed horse grew up to 3.5 feet (1.09 meters) and weighed between 165 pounds to 199 pounds, which was around the same size as a domestic sheep.[4][5]

Nannippus lived as far south as central Mexico (N. peninsulatus) to as far north as Canada (N. lenticularis), to California in the west, and North Carolina (N. lenticularis) and Florida (N. peninsulatus) in the east. Unlike its relatives, Nannippus, as well as all other three-toed horses endemic to North America, were browsers and mixed feeders that had diets consisting of C3 plants.[6]


  • N. aztecus Mooser, 1968.[7] Widespread in Florida and also found in Texas, Oklahoma, and Chihuahua, became extinct 11.2—5.7 Mya.[8]
  • N. beckensis Dalquest and Donovan, 1973[9] found in Texas only and became extinct about 3.4 Mya.
  • N. lenticularis (Cope, 1893) was found in Alberta, Canada, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Nebraska, and Kansas, becoming extinct about 13 Mya.[10]
  • N. minor (Sellards, 1916) lived in Georgia during the Pliocene.[11]
  • N. montezumae (Leidy, 1882)
  • N. morgani Hulbert, 1993 is restricted to Florida[12] and appears to have become extinct about 8.6 Mya.[13]
  • N. peninsulatus (Cope, 1893) was found in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico, becoming extinct about 3.3 Mya.
  • N. parvulus (Marsh, 1868)
  • N. westoni Simpson, 1930 is restricted to Florida[14] and became extinct about 9.1—8.7 Mya.


  1. ^ MacFadden, Bruce J. (1984). "Systematics and phylogeny of Hipparion, Neohipparion, Nannippus, and Cormohipparion (Mammalia, Equidae) from the Miocene and Pliocene of the New World. Bulletin of the AMNH ; v. 179, article 1". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Johnston, C. Stuart (1938). "The Skull of Nannippus gratus (Leidy) from the Lower Pliocene of Texas". The American Midland Naturalist. 19 (1): 245–248. doi:10.2307/2420435. ISSN 0003-0031.
  3. ^ Hulbert, Richard C. (1993). "Late Miocene Nannippus (Mammalia: Perissodactyla) from Florida, with a Description of the Smallest Hipparionine Horse". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 13 (3): 350–366. ISSN 0272-4634.
  4. ^ "Nannippus". Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  5. ^ Tudge, Colin (April 3, 1994). "Science: Why the four-toed horse lost the race: If evolution is random, why has the family Equidae grown steadily larger and faster? The answer lies in the gut, says Colin Tudge". Retrieved August 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ MacFadden, Bruce J.; Solounias, Nikos; Cerling, Thure E. (1999-02-05). "Ancient Diets, Ecology, and Extinction of 5-Million-Year-Old Horses from Florida". Science. 283 (5403): 824–827. doi:10.1126/science.283.5403.824. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 9933161.
  7. ^ E. H. Sellards. 1916. Fossil vertebrates from Florida: A new Miocene fauna; new Pliocene species; the Pleistocene fauna. Florida State Geological Survey Annual Report 8:79-119
  8. ^ Mooser, O. (1968). "Fossil Equidae from the Middle Pliocene of the Central Plateau of Mexico". The Southwestern Naturalist. 13 (1): 1–12. doi:10.2307/3668809. ISSN 0038-4909.
  9. ^ W. W. Dalquest and T. J. Donovan (1973). "A new three-toed horse (Nannippus) from the late Pliocene of Scurry County, Texas". Journal of Paleontology. 47 (1): 34–45.
  10. ^ Dalquest, Walter W.; Donovan, Terrence J. (1973). "A New Three-Toed Horse (Nannippus) from the Late Pliocene of Scurry County, Texas". Journal of Paleontology. 47 (1): 34–45. ISSN 0022-3360.
  11. ^ Voorhies, M. R. (1974). "The Pliocene Horse Nannippus Minor in Georgia: Geologic Implications". Tulane Studies in Geology and Paleontology. 11 (2).
  12. ^ R. C. Hulbert. 1993. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology[full citation needed]
  13. ^ Jr, Richard C. Hulbert (1993-09-23). "Late Miocene Nannippus (Mammalia: Perissodactyla) from Florida, with a description of the smallest hipparionine horse". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 13 (3): 350–366. doi:10.1080/02724634.1993.10011515. ISSN 0272-4634.
  14. ^ G. G. Simpson. 1930. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 59(3)