The ancestor of the horse — no bigger than a fox

   Through the evidence of fossilized bones that have survived through the ages, we have learned much of the ancestry and evolution of the horse. The animal evolved from Eohippus (the "Dawn Horse"), an animal no bigger than a fox, with four toes on its front feet and three on its hind feet. Several million years elapsed before our modern horse, as we know it today, developed from this ancestor. In this process, it lost all its toes but one, for the hoof of the modern horse was once a toe. This is true also of the close relatives of the horse — the donkey, the ass and the zebra. The small splint bones are all that remains of the other toes.
   The horse and its relatives were probably all much alike in the early ages, but today they are very different. The little Shetland pony, the Palomino, the magnificent Arabians and the lumbering draft horses — it is hard to believe that they came from one ancestor.