Evolution of Zebras.

Taxonomy and evolution

See also: Horse evolution

Zebras in Mikumi, Tanzania

Zebras evolved among the Old World horses within the last 4 million years. Grévy’s zebras (and perhaps also Mountain Zebras) are, together with asses and donkeys, in a separate lineage from other zebra lineages.[2] This means either that striped equids evolved more than once, or that common ancestors of zebras and asses were striped and only zebras retained the stripes. Extensive stripes are posited to have been of little use to equids that live in low densities in deserts (like asses and some horses) or ones that live in colder climates with shaggy coats and annual shading (like some horses).[3]

Fossils of an ancient equid were discovered in the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Hagerman, Idaho. It was named the Hagerman horse with a scientific name of Equus simplicidens. It is believed to have been similar to the Grévy’s zebra.[4] The animals had stocky zebra-like bodies and short, narrow, donkey-like skulls.[5] Grévy’s zebra also has a donkeylike skull. The Hagerman horse is also called the American zebra or Hagerman zebra.


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