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Press Release 12-037

Evolution of Earliest Horses Driven by Climate Change

The hotter it gets, the smaller the animal?

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An artist's reconstruction of Sifrhippus compared with a modern horse.

An artist's reconstruction of a modern horse compared with Sifrhippus.

Credit: Danielle Byerley, UFL


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Earliest horses show that past global warming affected the body size of mammals.

Credit: Jonathan Bloch and Stephen Chester, University of Florida

 

Photo of Sifhippus teeth at its largest size compared with teeth of same species after size shrank.

Teeth of Sifrhippus at its larger size with teeth from the same species after its size shrank.

Credit: Kristen Grace, UFL


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Photo showing teeth and jawbone of Sifrhippus.

From fossils, researchers determined oxygen levels on Earth some 56 million years ago.

Credit: Kristen Grace, UFL


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Ross Secord holding the jawbone with teeth of  the extinct hippo-like mammal Coryphodon.

Scientist Ross Secord with Coryphodon, an extinct mammal similar to a hippo.

Credit: UNL


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Cover of the February 24, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' work is described in the February 24, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2012


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