Building dating from the beginning
During the Oligocene period the climate changed and the warm, damp forests began to die out and were replaced with grass plains.The changes in Mesohippus became a distinct advantage for life on the plains. It is believed to have branched off from Mesohippus and they lived side by side for about 4 to 8 million years.The lithosphere is broken up into what are called tectonic plates—in the case of Earth, there are eight major and many minor plates and these plates ride on the asthenosphere, moving in relation to one another.Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries.Eohippus fossils have been found across Asia, Europe and North America. The earliest fossils found are about 2 million years after the earliest Eohippus fossils.They may well have lived side by side with Eohippus and other similar animals.Leafy foods were becoming scarce therefore the horses that were better adapted to eating grass or grazing, survived and flourished.Parahippus was similar to Miohippus but slightly larger.
Natural Selection To understand the development of the horse over such a long period of time it is helpful to understand evolution and the process of natural selection.You can find out more about this journey in the next section ‘From the Beginning', which may also help you to understand horse behaviour today: Why they are a ‘fright and flight' animal; why they have great eyesight; why their sense of smell and hearing are second to none.