EVOLUTION OF HORSE P 3

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PSZO103(PAPER:3,UNIT:3) :

EVOLUTION OF HORSE BY JAYESH SHEMBAVANEKAR MSc PART 1 PSZO103(PAPER:3,UNIT:3)

EVOLUTION INTRODUCTION:

EVOLUTION INTRODUCTION Evolution  is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species , individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins Life evolves by means of mutations , genetic drift, and natural selection

SYSTEMATICS OF HORSE:

SYSTEMATICS OF HORSE Kingdom : Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class : Mammalia Subclass: Theria Infraclass : Eutheria Order : Perissodactyla Family : Equidae Genus : Equus Species : E . Ferus Subspecies: Equus ferus caballus

EVOLUTION OF HORSE:

EVOLUTION OF HORSE The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today.  Horses share a common ancestry with  tapirs  and rhinoceroses . The Perissodactyla arose in the late  Paleocene, less than 10 million years after the  Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction. This group of animals appears to have been originally specialized for life in tropical forests. The  evolution of the horse  occurred over a  period of 50 million years , transforming the small, dog-sized, [1]  forest-dwelling  Eohippus  into the modern  horse . 

EVOLUTION OF HORSE:

EVOLUTION OF HORSE Elongated skull, arched back, shortened tail, four functional toes on front feet, and three toes on hind feet. The horse belongs to the  order   Perissodactyla  ( odd-toed ungulates ), the members of which all share  hooved  feet and an odd number of toes on each foot, as well as mobile  upper lips  and a similar  tooth  structure. This means that horses share a  common ancestry  with  tapirs and   rhinoceroses .

EVOLUTION OF HORSE:

EVOLUTION OF HORSE

HYRACOTHERIUM:

HYRACOTHERIUM The first equid was Hyracotherium , a small forest animal of the early Eocene. This little animal (10-20" at the shoulder) looked nothing at all like a horse. It had a "doggish" look with an arched back, short neck, short snout, short legs, and long tail. It browsed on fruit and fairly soft foliage, and probably scampered from thicket to thicket like a modern muntjac deer, only stupider, slower, and not as agile. This famous little equid was once known by the lovely name "Eohippus", meaning "dawn horse". Some Hyracotherium traits to notice: Legs were flexible and rotatable with all major bones present and unfused. 4 toes on each front foot, 3 on hind feet. Vestiges of 1st (& 2nd, behind) toes still present. Hyracotherium walked on pads ; its feet were like a dog's padded feet, except with small "hoofies" on each toe instead of claws. Small brain with especially small frontal lobes. Low-crowned teeth with 3 incisors, 1 canine, 4 distinct premolars and 3 "grinding" molars in each side of each jaw (this is the "primitive mammalian formula" of teeth). The cusps of the molars were slightly connected in low crests. Typical teeth of an omnivorous browser

HYRACOTHERIUM:

HYRACOTHERIUM

OROHIPPUS:

OROHIPPUS In the early-middle Eocene (approx. 50 My), there was a smooth, gradual transition from Hyracotherium to a close relative, Orohippus ( MacFadden, 1976 ). Overall, Orohippus looked much like Hyracotherium: 10-20" high at the shoulder, still "doggish" with arched back, short legs, short neck, short snout, and fairly small brain. Orohippus still had 4 toes on front and 3 behind, with hoofies, and was also "pad-footed". However, the vestiges of the 1st and 2nd toes vanished . The most significant change was in the teeth. The last premolar changed in shape to become like a molar, giving Orohippus one more "grinding tooth". Also, the crests on the teeth were more pronounced, indicating Orohippus was eating tougher plant material.

OROHIPPUS:

OROHIPPUS

EPIHIPPUS :

EPIHIPPUS Epihippus arose from Orohippus in the middle Eocene (approximately 47 My). Like Orohippus and Hyracotherium, Epihippus was small, doggish, pad-footed, and small-brained, with 4 toes in front and 3 behind. However, tooth evolution was continuing. Now the last two premolars were like molars, giving Epihippus five grinding cheek teeth. The crests on the cheek teeth were well-formed, and still low-crowned. There is a late form of Epihippus sometimes called Duchesnehippus. It's unclear if this is a subgenus or a species of Epihippus. This animal was basically an Epihippus with teeth similar to, but a bit more primitive than, later Oligocene horses.

EPIHIPPUS :

EPIHIPPUS

MESOHIPPUS:

MESOHIPPUS The species Mesohippus celer appears suddenly in the late Eocene, approx. 40 My (such sudden speciations can occur when a population encounters new selective forces and/or becomes isolated from the parent species. These speciations are "sudden" only in geological terms, of course, where a few million years is "sudden".) This animal was slightly larger than Epihippus, 24" at the shoulder. It didn't look as doggish, either. The back was less arched, the legs a bit longer, the neck a bit longer, and the snout and face distinctively longer. It had a shallow facial fossa, a depression on the skull. (In later horses these fossae became complex, and handy for species identification.) Mesohippus had three toes on its hind feet and on its front feet -- the 4th front toe was reduced to a vestigial nubbin. As before, Mesohippus was pad-footed. Other significant changes: Cerebral hemispheres notably larger -- has distinctly equine brain now. Last three premolars are like the three molars, such that Mesohippus (and all later horses) had a battery of six similar grinding "cheek teeth", with one lonely little simple premolar in front. Has same tooth crests as Epihippus, well-formed and sharp, more suitable for grinding tougher vegetation.

MESOHIPPUS:

MESOHIPPUS

MIOHIPPUS:

MIOHIPPUS Soon after Mesohippus celer and its very close relative Mesohippus westoni appeared, a similar animal called Miohippus assiniboiensis arose (approximately 36 My). This transition also occurred suddenly, but luckily a few transitional fossils have been found that link the two genera. A typical Miohippus was distinctly larger than a typical Mesohippus, with a slightly longer skull. The facial fossa was deeper and more expanded. In addition, the ankle joint had changed subtly. Miohippus also began to show a variable extra crest on its upper cheek teeth. In later horse species, this crest became a characteristic feature of the teeth. This is an excellent example of how new traits originate as variations in the ancestral population. It was once thought that Mesohippus "transformed" gradually into Miohippus via anagenetic evolution, so that only Miohippus continued. Recent evidence shows that instead, Miohippus speciated (split off) from early Mesohippus via cladogenetic evolution, and then Miohippus and Mesohippus overlapped for some 4 million years. For instance, in one place in modern Wyoming there were three species of late Mesohippus coexisting with two species of Miohippus. ( Prothero & Shubin, 1989 )

MIOHIPPUS:

MIOHIPPUS

PARAHIPPUS:

PARAHIPPUS Arose in early Miocene, 23 My. A typical Parahippus was a little larger than Miohippus, with about the same size brain and same body form. Parahippus was still three-toed, and was just beginning to develop the springy ligaments under the foot. Parahippus showed gradual and fluctuating changes in its teeth, including the permanent establishment of the extra crest that was so variable in Miohippus. In addition, various other cusps and crests were beginning to join up in a series of strong crests , with slightly taller tooth crowns . Parahippus evolved rapidly and was quickly transformed into a fully spring- footed, hypsodont grazing horse called Merychippus gunteri . This burst of evolution took place about 18-17 My. Later fossils of Parahippus (e.g. the species Parahippus leonensis ) are so similar to early Merychippus that it's hard to decide where to draw the line between the genera.

PARAHIPPUS:

PARAHIPPUS

MERYCHIPPUS:

MERYCHIPPUS Arose 17 My ago. A typical Merychippus was about 10 hands (40") tall, the tallest equine yet. The muzzle became elongated, the jaw became deeper, and the eye moved farther back, to accommodate the large tooth roots. The brain was notably larger, with a fissured neocortex and a larger cerebellum, making Merychippus a smarter and more agile equine than the earlier horses. Overall, Merychippus was distinctly recognizable as a horse, and had a "horsey" head. Merychippus was still 3-toed, but was fully spring-footed. This animal stood permanently on tiptoe, supported and propelled by strong, springy ligaments that ran under the fetlock. The side toes were still complete, but began to be of varying sizes; some Merychippus species had full-size side toes, while others developed small side toes that only touched the ground during running. The central toe developed a large, convex, "horsey" hoof, and the legs became longer. The radius and ulna of the forearm fused so that leg rotation was eliminated. Likewise, the fibula of the shin was greatly reduced. All these changes made Merychippus' legs specialized for just one function: rapid running over hard ground. Merychippus' teeth were fully high-crowned, with a thick layer of cement, and with the same distinctive grazing tooth crests as Parahippus.

MERYCHIPPUS:

MERYCHIPPUS

PLIOHIPPUS:

PLIOHIPPUS Arose in middle Miocene (~15 My) as a three-toed horse. Gradual loss of the side toes is seen in Pliohippus through 3 successive strata of the early Pliocene. Pliohippus was very similar to Equus and until recently was thought to be the direct ancestor of Equus, except for two significant differences. First, Pliohippus's skull has deep facial fossae, whereas Equus has no facial fossae at all. Second, Pliohippus's teeth are strongly curved, and Equus's teeth are very straight. Though Pliohippus is obviously related to Equus, it probably didn't give rise to Equus.

PLIOHIPPUS:

PLIOHIPPUS

DINOHIPPUS:

DINOHIPPUS Finally, a third one-toed horse called Dinohippus (recently discovered) arose about 12 My. The exact ancestor of Dinohippus is not yet known (see Evander, 1989 ). The earliest known species are D. spectans, D. interpolatus, and D. leidyanus. They look smashingly like Equus in foot morphology, teeth, and skull. The teeth were slightly straighter than Merychippus, and the facial fossae were significantly decreased . A slightly later species was D. mexicanus, that showed even straighter teeth and even smaller fossae. Dinohippus was the most common horse in North America in the late Pliocene, and almost certainly gave rise to Equus. (Recall that Equus has very straight teeth and no fossae.) The Isthmus of Panama arose at this point. Some very early Dinohippus species gave rise to the "hippidions", stocky, short-legged, one-toed horses with odd boxy skulls (~4 My). They travelled into the South America and thrived there briefly. Throughout the end of the Pliocene, Dinohippus showed a gradual decrease in the facial fossae, straightening of the teeth, and other gradual changes, as Dinohippus smoothly graded into Equus. ( Hulbert, 1989 )

DINOHIPPUS:

DINOHIPPUS

EVOVLED HORSE:

EVOVLED HORSE

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