Q:

Where did horses originate from?

A:

Quick Answer

Modern horses are believed to be descendants of those introduced by Spanish settlers in North America during the 16th century. Horses naively roamed North America until approximately 10,000 years ago, when they became extinct. The cause of this extinction is unknown, although climate change and hunting are probable factors.

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Full Answer

Eohippus, or the "dawn horse," is believed to be one of the first ancestors of horses. It is characterized by its diminutive stature and toes that each end in a hoof-like structure. The Eohippus has origins that date back over 1 million years ago. Modern horses, in comparison, have one hoofed toe on each foot and vestigial toes that resemble bumps along the lower leg.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When did horses arrive in North America?

    A:

    The modern horse was introduced to North America in 1519 by Spanish conquistadors. Hernán Cortés brought 15 horses to the mainland, and many of them were granted to settlers in Mexico and New Mexico. Further expeditions brought more horses, and large, wild herds existed in America by the 17th century.

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  • Q:

    Do horses lay down?

    A:

    Adult horses lie down during REM sleep, and sometimes they also lie down during the day to rest or sun bathe. Young foals commonly sleep lying down. Horses only lie down for short periods because they are adapted to sleep on their feet and awake quickly to flee predators.

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  • Q:

    What do mustang horses eat?

    A:

    Mustang horses eat a varied vegetarian diet that includes grazing on grasses and forbs, and browsing on trees and shrubs. They also consume nutrients in areas of exposed soil where salt and mineral concentrations are high.

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  • Q:

    How long can horses lie down?

    A:

    There is no specific length of time that a horse can lie down. However, the longer a horse lies down, the greater the risk of injury, according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine.

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