The name Hipparion is actually greek for ‘like a horse’ and these animals originated on the plains of North America & spread to Africa and Eurasia during the Miocene – Pleistocene (around 20 – 2 million years ago).
One of the more successful of the prehistoric horses during the Miocene epoch, these animals are very similar to the modern horse of today. Perhaps the largest difference would be the two toes off the hooves of each foot.
The Hipparion appears about midway through horse evolution and they display many of the characteristics we associate with modern horse of today.
Too Many Toes
The Hipparion was the size of a modern pony and although it had two extra toes on each foot, they did not touch the ground. This is one of the species that served to develop those toes right out of existence.
Not An Exact Science
Sadly we didn’t have scientists millions of years ago, so trying to piece together the history of horses is tricky business. There is a considerable amount of controversy when it comes to the taxonomy & lineage of extinct equidae. Be sure to meet some of the others like the Mesohippus, the Orohippus and the Eohippus.