Evolution of Horses

Part of Hall of Advanced Mammals.

Exhibition of fossil horse skeletons in the Museum's Hall of Advanced Mammals. Most are complete; several have only a skull attached to a wire frame representing the skeleton.

The Museum owns the largest collection of fossil horse skeletons in the world. Since the early 1900s, the exhibit has shown a classic, linear progression of evolution. Today, the display also offers a more current view of evolution with a complex, branching history.

Cladistics, the grouping of organisms by shared, specialized characteristics, shows that some later horses, such as Calippus, are actually smaller than earlier ones. It also shows that other later horses, such as Neohipparion, still had three toes. All modern horses have one toe.