FW: horses in Arequipa
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Subject: FW: horses in Arequipa
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Subject: horses in Arequipa
Unusually complete skeleton survives
from more than 10,000 years ago
LIMA, Peru, Feb. 21 - Peruvian geologists have discovered the most
complete horse fossil in the Americas, a reminder that the hoofed mammal
existed in the New World long before the Spanish brought horses in the
"HORSES WERE REINTRODUCED to South America. With this (find) we
hope to remind people this animal did exist here, but died out some
10,000 years ago," Rodolfo Salas, head of Peru's Natural History
Museum's paleontology department, said Friday.
A team from the museum discovered the preserved skeleton of an
(Amerihippus) santaeelenae in July 2002 in the arid department of
Arequipa, 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Lima.
The horse, unearthed in an area full of volcanic ash and mud
flows, had its head arched back and its front legs splayed out in front
of its body. It was to be put on public display in the capital Lima on
"Without a doubt, this is the most complete horse fossil that
exists in the Americas. Absolutely all the bones have been preserved,"
Salas told Reuters.
Compared to today's horse, Equus santaeelenae had a large head, a
thick neck and short legs.
"It was definitely a good runner ... and lived in open areas
like savannahs or pastures," he said.
He said the horse arrived in South America about 3 million years
ago, making its way across the isthmus of Panama from North America.
But its population dwindled and it became extinct about 10,000
years ago, around the time humans settled South America.
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