Horses' Teeth Give Clues

Newsdate: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 - 04:45 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Ground-breaking research by two anatomy professors at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine is verifying the theory that horses evolved through a process of natural selection.

Matthew Mihlbachler, Ph.D., and Nikos Solounias, Ph.D. arrived at the conclusion after examining the teeth of 6,500 fossil horses representing 222 different populations of more than 70 extinct horse species.

Their research indicates a lag time between the evolution of horse teeth and dietary changes resulting from climate change.

 "Lag time in the evolution of horse teeth in comparison to dietary changes is critical," Mihlbachler explained. "We found that evolutionary changes in tooth anatomy lag behind the dietary changes by a million years or more."

Mihlbachler and Solounias' observation that dental changes in horses follow their dietary changes is consistent with evolution due to adaptation.

The duo's research shows that not only has the number of horse species been greatly reduced in the past few million years, but also that the diets of horses have been narrowly restricted.

About the author

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..

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