- Category: Get to Know
- Published: Sunday, 01 January 2017 11:02
Believe it or not, the horse you see today- whether on a farm, a parade, therapy or even working with the police- have all evolved over the past 55 million years from an animal about the size of a dog! Originally found only in North America, during the last Ice Age, they crossed land bridges to Asia and Europe.
Roughly 10 million years ago, several species of horses could be found on the Great Plains of North America living alongside now extinct relatives of camels, elephants, and rhinoceroses but became extinct about 15,000 years ago.
Humans began to domesticate horses about 4,000 years ago in central Asia and were brought back to North America by Christopher Columbus. All thoroughbreds can be traced back to three Arabian horses that were brought to England in the late 1600s.
Today, there are now more than 600 breeds of horses, including donkeys and zebras which are of the same family! And most incredibly, the closest living relatives to horses are rhinoceroses and tapirs!