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Ancestral horse skeleton (cast), Merychippus sp.
Common Name: Ancestral horse skeleton
Scientific Name: Merychippus sp.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Dimensions: Centremetres: 189 (length) 27 (width) 105 (height)
Period: Late Miocene, 10 million years old
Museum ID Number: 07901
Image Number: ROM2007_9522_7

Although horse evolution was complicated, over time horses became larger and faster. Their diet evolved from browsing to grazing, a change reflected in the increased height of their teeth. Mesohippus and Merychippus represent two distinctive stages in horse evolution. The earlier, sheep-sized Mesohippus had low-crowned teeth adapted for browsing. The later Merychippus had the high-crowned teeth of a grazer.

Location: Kern County, California, USA

Exhibit History: Gallery of the Age of Mammals

Gallery: Gallery of the Age of Mammals

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