“The Horse” at the Field Museum
In a new exhibit,trots out the story of equine evolution.
55 million B.C.
The horse family—mostly composed of tiny forest browsers—begins to roam the earth. See skulls, teeth and toe-bones (yes, some of these horses had toes) of the ancient animals.
10 million B.C.
A dozen species of equus—some viewable in a life-size diorama—live on North American grasslands before a mysterious extinction, likely caused by climate changes and over-hunting. The wild animal thrives in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Horses are hunted for food (eww) until people start domesticating them. Even then, it appears humans corral horses in order to eat their meat. View evidence in the knife marks on bones discovered in a northern Kazakhstan archaeological site.
The animal changes mankind by providing horse-power to build towns and cities, and fight in wars. But man changes horses even more dramatically by producing breeds, like the Shetland pony, specifically bred in 1800s for coal mine labor. See toys, pottery and equipment—including a Central Asian sport whip, a Pony Express saddle and an ornate Syrian stirrup—that reveal the significant human/horse relationship.