Home    -    Summary    -    Historical Views    -    Equidae Through the Ages    -    Extant Equids    -    Glossary    -    References  

Equidae in the Oligocene

 mesohippus forelimb
Forelimb of Mesohippus
Modified from MacFadden 1992.

        The Oligocene saw the appearance of horses with three toes on each foot (Draper 1996), and while some groups of Equidae retained the digitigrade method of walking, this epoch also saw the development of unguligrade limbs in some lineages of Equidae (Azzaroli 1992). Because the members of Equidae were still found mainly in the northern hemisphere during this epoch, the glaciation did not have a profound effect on the family.  However, there was a general trend toward increased size during this epoch (Draper 1996), possibly to increase speed to escape from predators in the more open woodlands that appeared during this time.    

back home next