dawn horse


dawn horse
eohippus.
[1200-50]

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▪ fossil equine
 extinct group of horses (horse) that flourished in North America and Europe during the early part of the Eocene Epoch (55.8–33.9 million years ago). Even though these animals are more commonly known as Eohippus, a name given by the American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh (Marsh, Othniel Charles), they are properly placed in the genus Hyracotherium, the name given earlier by British paleontologist Richard Owen (Owen, Sir Richard).

 The dawn horse was a form close to the common ancestry of all the odd-toed hoofed mammals, the perissodactyls (perissodactyl). It stood 30–60 cm (1–2 feet) high at the shoulder, depending on the species. The skull varied in length; some species had a relatively short face, but in others the face was long and more horselike. Since the hind legs were longer than its forelegs, Hyracotherium was adapted to running and probably relied heavily on running to escape predators. The body was lightly constructed and raised well off the ground; its slender limbs were supported by toes held in an almost vertical position. Although four toes were present on the front feet and three on the hind feet, all were functionally three-toed, and each toe ended in a small hoof. The incisors of Hyracotherium were small, and the cheek teeth had low crowns, which indicated the animal was a browser that fed on leaves rather than grass. The dawn horse was succeeded by Orohippus, which differed from Hyracotherium primarily in dentition.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • dawn horse — dawn′ horse n. pal eohippus …   From formal English to slang

  • dawn horse — eohippus eo*hip pus ([=e] [ o]*h[i^]p p[u^]s), n. [Gr. hw s dawn + ipposhorse.] an extinct primitive dog sized 4 toed Eocene mammal, the earliest horse known in the line of descent of the modern horse. It is classed in the extinct genus… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dawn horse — noun earliest horse; extinct primitive dog sized four toed Eocene animal • Syn: ↑eohippus • Hypernyms: ↑horse, ↑Equus caballus • Member Holonyms: ↑Hyracotherium, ↑genus Hyracotherium * * * eohippus …   Useful english dictionary

  • dawn horse — noun Date: 1930 eohippus …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • dawn-horse — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun Etymology: translation of New Latin Eohippus : a member of the genus Eohippus …   Useful english dictionary

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