Evolutionary Development of the Horse
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This paper explains that paleozoologists, over the past 45 to 55 million, have put together the most complete picture of the horse's evolutionary history than has been created for any other animal. Next, the author reviews the complex, non-linear structure of the horse's evolutionary process through many branches, which makes diagramming the horse's evolutionary mechanisms challenging. The paper relates that Equus, the genus of all modern horses, evolved in the late Pliocene period; however, in this era, a series of devastating extinctions killed off most of the large mammals of North and South America thus only a few members of Equus survive today.
From the Paper:"The horse belongs to an order known as Perissodactyla, meaning 'odd-toed ungulates (mammals).' This order shares shares a number of physical traits, including hoofed feet and odd number of toes on each foot, along with the tendency to bear their weight on the central third toe, and mobile upper lips and a similar tooth structure. The majority of horse species arose in North America, including all the ancestors of the Equus. A sequence of their transitional fossils was first discovered in the 1870's by the paleontologist O. C. Marsh. This astonishing new find was a clear and precise depiction of evolution taking place in a single lineage. The fossil species Eohippus (the term was later changed to Hyracotherium) transformed into the recognizable form of its descendant, Equus, through a series of very clear intermediaries. This is what led the horse family to become the evolutionary standard used in museums, lectures, and textbooks.
"The biological classification of the domestic horse, which is the animal that most people picture when the term 'horse' is used, is as follows: the horse belongs to the Animalia kingdom, the Chordata phylum, the Mammalia class, the Theria subclass, the Eutheria infraclass..."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Hall, Brian K. and Olsen, Wendy M. (2007) Keywords and Concepts in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. New Delhi, India: Discovery Publishing House.
- McFadden, B. J. (1988) Horses, the Fossil Record, and Evolution: A Current Perspective. Evolutionary Biology. Issue 22, pp. 131-158.
- Prothero, D. R. and Shubin, N. (1989) The Evolution of Oligocene Horses. The Evolution of Perissodactyls. New York: ClarendonPress.
- Raff, Rudolph. (1996) The Shape of Life: Genes, Development,and the Evolution of Animal Form. Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.
- Simpson, George G. (1961) Horses. New York: Doubleday.
Cite this Descriptive Essay:
Evolutionary Development of the Horse (2013, June 05) Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/descriptive-essay/evolutionary-development-of-the-horse-153485/
"Evolutionary Development of the Horse" 05 June 2013. Web. 22 January. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/descriptive-essay/evolutionary-development-of-the-horse-153485/>