New genre of ancient horse called Canadian


A newly discovered branch of the horse family has been named after the Canadian who first studied his remains in the Yukon, where he lived until the end of the last ice age.

Detailed study of the North American stilt. The horse with legs has revealed that the ice age mammal was an "evolutionary dead end" in the horse family, which developed through the genus Equus to breed horses, bades and modern zebras. The tallest, thinnest horse with striding legs lived until about 17,000 years ago and died completely after the last ice age, according to the new study published in the eLife magazine.

The study authors officially clbadified the long-legged horse as a separate genus of Equus, based on the differences observed in the DNA level. The zanquilardo horse was first described in the 1970s by the Canadian paleontologist Richard Harington, but at that time it was thought to be related to the Asian wild bad or the onager.

The new genus has been named Haringtonhippus francisci, after Harington. Harington did not work on the new study, but study authors say they named the new genre after him as a tribute to his innovative work on the ancient animal.

"I am delighted to have this new genre that bears my name." Harington, curator emeritus of quaternary paleontology at the Canadian Museum of Nature, said in a news release from the study authors.

Co-author Grant Zazula said the discovery would not have been possible without Harington's lifelong dedication to the study "No other scientist has had a greater impact in the field of ice age palaeontology in Canada than Dick, "said Zazula, a paleontologist from the Yukon government. .

A connection that goes way back,

The discovery is expected to shake the ingrained theories that the evolution of the horse was quite direct in demonstrating that a divergent branch of the tree family emerged some 4-6 million years before disappearing.

"The family of horses, thanks to its rich and deep fossil record, has been a model system for understanding and teaching evolution," study's first author Peter Heintzman of UC Santa Cruz said in the press release . "Now, the ancient DNA has rewritten the evolutionary history of this iconic group."

The authors of the study say that the genus Equus and Haringtonhippus thrived side by side in North America, although they did not cross. They coexisted with mammals of the ice age as large as the woolly mammoth and the saber-toothed feline, who also died when the glaciers receded. The North American Equus and Haringtonhippus disappeared almost at the same time, but the Equus survived through several ancient horses that remained in Eurasia.

The discovery of the zanquilardo horse was based on the DNA extracted from fossils in the Klondike gold of the Yukon. fields, as well as Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming and Gypsum Cave in Nevada.

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