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Anchitherium (London Natural History Museum)


Anchitherium (Greek for "near mammal"); pronounced ANN-chee-THEE-ree-um


Woodlands of North America and Eurasia

Historical Epoch:

Miocene (25-5 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 3 feet tall and a few hundred pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; three-toed feet


About Anchitherium:

As successful as Anchitherium was--this prehistoric horse persisted throughout the entire Miocene epoch, or close to 20 million years--it represented a mere side branch in equine evolution, and wasn't directly ancestral to modern horses. In fact, around 15 million years ago, Anchitherium was displaced from its North American habitat by better-adapted equines like Hipparion and Merychippus, which forced it migrate to the less-populous woodlands of Europe and Asia.

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