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Temporal range: Late Paleocene - Early Eocene, Thanetian–Lutetian
Hyracotherium leporinum.jpg
Skull fossil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Palaeotheriidae
Genus: Hyracotherium
Owen, 1841

?Eohippus Marsh, 1876

Hyracotherium was previously called Eohippus (meaning "dawn horse"). It is a Eurasian species, a Palaeothere. That group is ancestral to the horses and brontotheres.[1][2] Therefore, it is not the same animal as Eohippus, which is the earliest horse.

Hyracotherium lived during the early Eocene epoch, about 55–45 million years ago. It lived in the northern hemisphere in Asia and Europe. The first fossils of this tiny animal were found in England by Richard Owen in 1841 and named Hyracotherium.

The original type species H. leporinum is now regarded as an Eohippus. So that name has been brought back to describe the early proto-horse found in North America.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Froehlich D.J. (2002). "Quo vadis eohippus? The systematics and taxonomy of the early Eocene equids (Perissodactyla)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 134 (2): 141–256. doi:10.1046/j.1096-3642.2002.00005.x. 
  2. Hooker J.J. (1994). "The beginning of the equoid radiation". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 112 (1–2): 29–63. doi:10.1006/zjls.1994.1033.