Eohippus, or the Dawn Horse, is the small animal that the modern horse derived from. It existed 60 million years ago on the American continent, evolving around the constantly changing environment. It was a very small animal, some only 14 inches tall, and lived in the jungle habitat as a browsing animal. It had to run very fast from Diatryma, its predator. This is why horses today are very fast runners, because of the way thay have evolved.
Eohippus is the present horse's ancestor. This animal's immediate ancestor was the Condylarth group, from which all hoofed animals derived from.
This animal lived in tropical and jungle-like environments. Scientists have actually found monkey remains around Eohippus skeletons. Because of his habitat and his environment, the animal was a browser. They ate soft leaves on low bushes and trees.
In 1867 a nearly complete skeleton was found in Eocene rock formations in Wyoming. Therefore, scientists know that equine development started in Wyoming and the adjacent states. In the 1830s, evidence was found in Europe that traces back to the development of equine.
The most complete skeleton ever found was in 1931. It was found in the Big Horn Basin in Philadelphia. The skeleton has been mounted by awesome paleontologists at the California Institute of Technology.
The Dawn Horse was no bigger than a dog or fox. It had four toes on its forefeet, and three behind. Each toe had strong, thick, and horny nails. Like on dogs, Eohippus had a pad behind its toes.
Its eyes were set in the middle of the head. This feature prohibited lateral vision, which developed later.
This animal's teeth (all 44) were short-crowned, like pig or monkey teeth. Because of this, the Dawn Horse ate soft leaves on low-growing shrubs.