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Pliocene dispersal of the horse Equus and late Cenozoic mammalian dispersal events

Naturevolume 287pages135138 (1980) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The Cenozoic history of land mammals is marked by brief periods of intercontinental dispersal, termed dispersal events1,2. One of these dispersal events includes the horse Equus, that evolved in North America, dispersed to the Old World in the Pliocene, and became a prominent member of Old World Pleistocene communities. Equus was derived from a species of the single-toed horse Pliohippus, known only from North America3. Timing for the Pliocene dispersal of Equus into Europe was questioned4 following resolution for the appearance of Equus into the Siwalik sequence of Pakistan5. It seems that there were at least three major dispersal events of large mammals during the Pliocene (at 1.9, 2.6 and 3.7 Myr). We now report new data that limit the time of Equus' dispersal and into Europe to the 2.6 Myr dispersal event.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721

    • Everett H. Lindsay
  2. Lamont–Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, 10964

    • Neil D. Opdyke
  3. Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 03755

    • Noye M. Johnson

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https://doi.org/10.1038/287135a0

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