Fossil Friday 12/26/14: A three-toed horse

VP UF236937b

UF 236937, a partial maxilla of the fossil horse Anchitherium clarencei. (Photo © VP FLMNH)

It’s Fossil Friday again and this time I would like to show you a specimen of a three-toed horse called Anchitherium clarencei. It was found at the Centenario Bridge Locality of the Gaillard Cut in Panama (Cucaracha Formation). It is from the middle Miocene and is about 18 to 15 million years old. Although this species was found in North American localities such as those in Nebraska and South Dakota, the discovery of this specimen extended the range of this species down to the ancient Neotropics. The low-crowned (brachyodont) dentition of this fossil horse suggests that it was a browser, eating the leaves of plants that grow higher off the ground such as shrubs and trees (as opposed to grazers, which eat grass and other low-growing vegetation).

To learn more about this specimen, read the publication about it here.


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