New Fossil Species of Horse Found in Ethiopia

David Sanderson Around the World, Horses in History

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Try to say Eurygnathohippus woldegabrieli. An international team of paleontologists have discovered fossils of a new horse species that was about the size of a small zebra and roamed eastern Africa during the middle Pliocene, around 4.4 million years ago.

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The long slender bone indicates this ancient species was an adept runner, similar to modern zebras, and analyses of their teeth indicated they relied heavily on eating grasses in the grassy woodland environment. The change helped the more recent horses cover long distances as they grazed and flee lions, sabre-tooth cats and hunting hyenas that would run down their prey

“The horse fills a gap in the evolutionary history of horses but is also important for documenting how old a fossil locality is and in reconstructing habitats of human forebears of the time. This horse is one piece of a very complex puzzle that has many, many pieces,” said Prof Scott Simpson of Case Western Reserve University, who is a co-author of the paper published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

We’re happy this discovery was made to better understand the evolution of horses!