The horse, its propitiation, history and varieties
The horse (Equus) belongs to the order of the equipotent (Peris-sodactyla), once a large group of animals, which now has only a very few representatives and is part of a strictly limited family of one-wise.
The most characteristic feature of this family are the legs, which have only one fully developed toe, equipped with a hoof.
This feature distinguishes it from all other solids. First of all, a long, stretched skull, where only a third falls on the brain part, and two-thirds on the facial bones, is striking in the eyes.
As for the horse’s dental system, each half of the upper and lower jaws has three incisors with a smooth surface and a cross-oval fossa, six (or seven) long teeth with twisting enamel folds on the chewing surface and one small, slightly curved, blunt -conic fangs, which, however, may be absent. Of the digestive organs, the narrow esophagus deserves special attention, the opening of which is provided with a valve in the stomach.
The stomach itself is a simple small bag undivided, oblong – rounded. There is no gallbladder. The cecum is highly developed. The nuclei are enclosed in the scrotum, the uterus two-horned, later diffuse. The brain is relatively small and the cerebral hemispheres covered with brains do not cover the cerebellum. But this, however, does not prevent the horse from having sufficiently developed mental abilities. Of the senses, hearing is most developed, followed by sight and smell.
The neck is lengthened, forming a mane; the tail is also covered with long hair; head elongated with large expressive eyes, wide nostrils and pointed, movable ears; the neck is long, muscular; torso rounded; legs are tall, of moderate thickness, slender; There are no first and fifth fingers, but from the second and fourth fingers, there are only rudiments in the form of rod-shaped (slate) bones, metacarpals, and tarsus adjacent to the thick metacarpal or metatarsal bone of a strongly developed middle finger, whose end is clad in a hoof; on the inside of the wrist and heels are horny callused buds.
Based on the corpus lumps on the limbs, the degree of development of the hair on the tail and their coloring – a few horse species can be divided into two or three subgenera
The first is the horse itself (equus), with cones on all four legs and with strongly developed hair on the tail.
To the second belongs a donkey (asinus) with cones only on the front legs and with a tail covered with long hair (quagga and dhow), mainly only at the end
Finally, the third subgenus can be identified, the so-called tiger horses (hippotigris)
In terms of coat color, domestic horses often have a return to the signs of their ancestors. Such phenomena of atavism include the appearance in horses of light stripes of a dark strip along the back, sometimes with stripes on the shoulders and on the limbs, similar to bracelets. Many tend to see in the apple suit – the remnants of striation.
The question of the horse’s origin is far from being resolved, although comparative anatomy due to paleontology and geology has dispelled to some extent the existing darkness.
The most distant ancestor of our domestic horse and some other ungulates is paleoterium, an extinct animal of the Tertiary period from a group of ungulates; Its remains were first studied and described by the famous Cuvier. Further, the probable progenitors of our domestic horse are studied in detail on the fossil remains in the Tertiary sediments of America, where mammals resembling a horse lived, all extinct before the discovery of America by Columbus. The initial, not yet found, grandparents of the horse, according to Marsh, had five fingers on the front and rear legs; the most ancient known progenitor-eohippus from the southern Eocene was no larger than a fox and had four well developed fingers and a fifth germ on its front legs and three on its hind legs.
Higher in the Eocene are the remains of the orohipus, the size is also not more than the previous, but with four toes on the front legs and three on the back.
In the upper Eocene there is an epichippus with the same legs, but different in the teeth. At the border of the Miocene, a mesohippus, the size of a sheep, with three developed and one ruminant finger on the front and three on the hind legs, is found somewhat higher than miohipus or anchitaerium, in which the slate of the fifth or outer finger has decreased to a short germ. In the Pliocene, protohippus or hipparion abounded in the same way, an extinct animal of the Tertiary period, occurring on a par with the horse from the abovementioned fossils of great size with a donkey, with three fingers on its front and rear legs. Hipparion or Hippoterium is listed in the lists of the forebears of the horse, although it lived within the limits of present-day Persia at the same time as it. Even higher in the Pliocene, a close relative of the modern horse appears, the genus pliohippus with one developed finger, and finally even higher – a real horse of greatness with modern.
Even the species of the wild horse of the Dzungarian salt-marshland steppe, recently discovered by our famous explorer Przhevalsky, although a completely independent species, was considered by some scientists as a possible progenitor of the modern horse. Although Przhevalsky could not personally see the wild horse, but according to local residents, in 1881 he made a fairly complete description of the hides and skulls. In Petersburg, in the Museum of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, there is an effigy of Przhevalsky’s horse, but according to the description made by Polyakov, it is difficult to make generalizations from the individual specimen. At the All-Russian Nizhny Novgorod exhibition of 1896, 6 such horses were to be delivered from the Transcaspian region and there is nothing to say how much such a group would be interesting from a purely scientific point of view, but unfortunately these horses could not bear the burden of bondage – they fell on the way.
Writing these lines, the manager of the 43rd group at the exhibition, where the horses were to be exhibited, took all measures depending on him to preserve their skins and bones to make this invaluable collection available to the museum.
As for the original area of distribution of horses, the remnants of which we first meet in tertiary strata, then the largest part of the northern hemisphere should be considered as such. In Europe, wild horses became extinct, as it can be supposed, not especially long ago, in Asia and Africa they are found even now, living in herds in the mountains and high-lying steppes. In many places in America, Australia and southeastern Europe there are feral horses. Tarpan, who has lived in the wild state since time immemorial, is more likely to be one of the fabulous animals still far from being studied enough, and in Western Europe they have a vague idea about him, while in the Moscow Zoological Garden there lived one specimen delivered there and. H. Shatilov, but according to him it is difficult to judge the racial characteristics of the whole species of which he, apparently, was not quite a brilliant representative.