Taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Mammalia; Order: Perissodactyla; Family: Equidae; Genus: Equus; Species: ferus; Subspecies: ferus caballus. Equus ferus
Horses are the Equus ferus and have two extant subspecies. The horse is a large ungulate mammal that is odd-toed, consistent with a well-developed sense of balance and strong fight-or-flight response. They originally evolved from a small multi-toed prehistoric dinosaur known as the Eohippus – a small multi-toed creature. They were first domesticated about 4000 B.C.E. in the Fertile Crescent and throughout the known world by 3000 B.C.E. The sub-species “caballus” are essentially all domesticated though there are some feral horses living in the wild, but are not true wild horses such as the Przewalski’s horse – the only true remaining wild horse.
Horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. The female is called a mare and carry young within the womb for 11 months giving birth to a foal (young horse) and can stand/run shortly following birth. They are usually fully developed by age 5 and live to 25 or 30 years of age.
Domestication: Domestication started around 4000 B.C.E. with widespread occurence by 3000. They are often saddled or harnessed by age 2 and 4. They are fully developed by age 5. They are classified in three categories based on temperament: “hot bloods” – spirited with speed and endurance; “cold bloods” like draft horses and ponies often slow but capable of heavy work; and “warm bloods” developed as a cross-breed between the “hot” and “cold” bloods usually specified for riding. There are over 300 different breeds today.
Horses are used by humans for sport, transportation, agriculture, entertainment, and therapy. Originally used in warfare they evolved into different uses.
Recreation, sport, warefare, transportation, entertainment, therapy, and food. The meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and urine are used. Urine from pregnant mares are used for pharmaceuticals.
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