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Paleontology Society Open House
Ancient Horses of Anza-Borrego

Categorized as: Nature & Outdoors
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​Ancient Horses of Anza-Borrego


Horses are native to North America, originating on this continent approximately 57 million years ago.


Throughout much of their history, they were a diverse group, comprising many different genera and species, especially during the dramatic climate changes of the Miocene Epoch, between 24 and 5 million years ago. Horses dispersed to Asia, Europe, and Africa during that time.


The last 5 million years saw a drastic reduction, worldwide, with complete extinction of horses in their native North America by the late Pleistocene, about 11,000 years ago. Today, the only surviving genus of horse is Equus, reintroduced to North America by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century.


The spectacular sedimentary outcrops within the Anza-Borrego Desert capture a relatively recent period in the long evolutionary history of the horse. The fossil Collections contain over 5,000 bones and teeth, from at least 2 genera and several species of horse, dating back 4.5 million years.


Please meet at the ABDSP Visitors Center for the short guided walk over to the Stout Research Center, to visit the exhibits in the Laboratory and Collection Hall.

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Anza-Borrego, Imperial Valley, S. CA Deserts