Grey Mustang Stallion by Randy Harris. See randyharrisphoto.com.

Horses buck evolutionary ideas

ABOUT HORSES — A cautionary tale in evolutionary theory is coming straight from the horse’s mouth. When ancient horses diversified into new species, those bursts of evolution weren’t accompanied by drastic changes to horse teeth, as scientists have long thought.

A new evolutionary tree of horses reveals three periods when several new species emerged, scientists report in the Feb. 10 Science. The researchers found that changes in teeth morphology and body size didn’t change very much during these periods of rapid speciation.

“This knocks traditional notions that rapid diversification of new species comes with morphological diversification as well,” says paleontologist Bruce MacFadden of the University of Florida in Gainesville. “This is a very sophisticated and important paper.” Continue reading at ScienceNews.org »

RELATED READING

The Success of Horses Suggests a Key Assumption About Evolution Could Be Wrong, ScienceAlert.com.

Climate Change Responsible for the Great Diversity in Horses, ScienceDaily.com.

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Grey Mustang Stallion by Randy Harris. See randyharrisphoto.com.