(ORDO NEWS) — German scientists have studied hyparions in North Africa. These were three-toed horse-like animals, of which there were at least 50 species. The most interesting thing is that a north-south pattern was found in their extinction.
Hyparions from the outside resembled modern horses, but there were differences. For example, the morphology of the dentition was different.
Also, these extinct animals had two vestigial fingers in addition to hooves. Simply put, they were more primitive than modern horses, but hundreds of thousands of years ago were widespread in the world.
Regularity in the extinction of hyparions
The extinction of the hyparions was not instantaneous and was greatly extended in time:
- In Europe, animals became extinct before 2.5 million years ago.
- In China – 1 million years ago.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, hyparions disappeared 600-400 thousand years ago.
As you can see, the animals died out with a north-south gradient. This unusual pattern was noticed back in the 18th century by the French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, who described it in his work Histoire Naturelle.
Paleontological studies in northern Africa have revealed the remains of hyparions. Dating them, it turned out that they lived about 1.7 million years ago.
Therefore, according to German scientists, this confirms the pattern of extinction “north – south”. The probable cause of extinction is considered to be a decrease in global temperatures, which began in the Miocene.
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