Equus caballus showing teeth. Source: Time.com.

It’s National Smile Week: Do horses smile?

DO HORSES SMILE?

We’ve already had a bit on do horses laugh.

Do horses smile? They look the same to me. But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Megan Friendlander writing for Country Living Magazine states:

In fact, horses have 17 facial expressions, three more than chimpanzees. For example, horses raise the inner brow of the eye and widen their eyes in general when they’re scared or in generally negative situations, and so do humans. Plus, they tend to “smile” as a submissive gesture.

See Horses Have Facial Expressions, and They’re Eerily Similar to Human Ones.

A Time Magazine articles agrees. See “Horses Smile and Pout Just Like Humans, Study Says,” August 5, 2015 by Mandy Oaklander.

Horse smiling? Source: Vocativ.
By Vocativ. Click to view source article.

IT’S ABOUT THOSE TEETH

The adult male horse has up to 44 permanent teeth, and a mare may have between 36-40 permanent teeth. Like humans, horses get two sets of teeth in their lifetime. The baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, are temporary. By age five, most horses will have their full set of permanent teeth.

Why so many? Evolution has designed the horse’s skull to accommodate greater quantities of high-fiber forage foods. The horse’s Eocene ancestor stood a little over two feet tall. Modern equus are now almost triple that height and require 27 times more food! An amazing grinding system of the horse’s teeth accommodates such an increase in food intake and processing.

Elongation of the head and neck allowed for continual pastural grazing; increasing the height and complexity of the tooth shape. The forward teeth, known as incisors, function to shear off forage. The cheek teeth, including the molars and premolars with their wide, flat, grooved surfaces, easily grind the feed to mash before it is swallowed.

Continue reading this detailed article at Horse Talk »

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Source: Time.com. Thank you.

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