Name: Rhynchippus ‭(‬Snout horse‭)‬.
Phonetic: Rin-chip-pus.
Named By: Florentino Ameghino‭ ‬-‭ ‬1897.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Notoungulata,‭ ‬Notohippidae.
Species: R.‭ ‬equinus (type), R. brasiliensis, R. medianus?, R. pumilus.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: About‭ ‬1‭ ‬meter long.
Known locations: South America.
Time period: Late Eocene to Oligocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.

       Although the name means‭ '‬snout horse‭’‬,‭ ‬Rhynchippus was actually a notoungulate,‭ ‬a group of South American mammals completely unrelated to horses.‭ ‬Rhynchippus was actually an early relative to the much larger Toxodon that would appear much later around the Pliocene/Pleistocene eras.‭ ‬The similarity between Rhynchippus and primitive horses like Mesohippus is a case of convergent evolution where the mammals of South America had to evolve to the expanding plains environments,‭ ‬but from different evolutionary lines to the horses that would dominate the northern continents.
       Rhynchippus was a mammal that was well adapted for grinding tough plants.‭ ‬This was made possible by the thick coating of enamel on the teeth that would have increased the life expectancy of the teeth despite the constant grinding when Rhynchippus fed.‭ ‬However unlike later toxodonts,‭ ‬the upper canine teeth were not shaped into tusks.

Further reading


Random favourites