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Temporal range: Early Eocene (Ypresian)
Sifrhippus sp..JPG
Sifrhippus restoration in the Swedish Museum of Natural History
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Sifrhippus
Froehlich, 2002
  • S. sandrae (Gingerich, 1989)
  • S. grangeri (Kitts, 1956)
  • Hyracotherium sandrae
  • Hyracotherium angustidens grangeri
  • Hyracotherium grangeri
  • Hyracotherium pernix
  • Eohippus pernix
  • Arenahippus grangeri
  • Arenahippus aemulor

Sifrhippus is an extinct genus of equid containing the species S. sandrae and S. grangeri. Sifrhippus is the oldest known equid, and its fossils come from the earliest moments of the Eocene of the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming.[1][2] A 2012 study found Arenahippus to be synonymous with Sifrhippus.[3]


Sifrhippus was a very small equid the size of a house cat, varying from 12 to 8.5 pounds (5.4 to 3.9 kilograms), the size variance, according to one theory, depending on the warmth of the climate.[1][4] Sifrhippus sandrae is referred to in earlier literature as Hyracotherium sandrae, but Froehlich, arguing that the traditional genus Hyracotherium was not monophyletic, reassigned many of its species to other genera, and re-using the old name "Eohippus", for one. Froehlich give H. sandrae the new generic name Sifrhippus, derived from the Arabic صِفْر (ṣifr), "zero", and Greek ἵππος (híppos), "horse".[2]


  1. ^ a b Gingerich, P.D. (1989). "New earliest Wasatchian mammalian fauna from the Eocene of northwestern Wyoming: composition and diversity in a rarely sampled high-floodplain assemblage". University of Michigan Papers on Paleontology. 28: 1–97. hdl:2027.42/48628.
  2. ^ a b Froehlich, D.J. (2002). "Quo vadis eohippus? The systematics and taxonomy of the early Eocene equids (Perissodactyla)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 134 (2): 141–256. doi:10.1046/j.1096-3642.2002.00005.x.
  3. ^ Secord, R.; Bloch, J. I.; Chester, S. G. B.; Boyer, D. M.; Wood, A. R.; Wing, S. L.; Kraus, M. J.; McInerney, F. A.; Krigbaum, J. (2012). "Evolution of the Earliest Horses Driven by Climate Change in the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum". Science. 335 (6071): 959–962. doi:10.1126/science.1213859. PMID 22363006.
  4. ^ Gorman, James (23 February 2012). "A Tiny Horse That Got Even Tinier as the Planet Heated Up". The New York Times.