Plain Truth Magazine
December 1969
Volume: Vol XXXIV, No.12
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Paul W Kroll  

Extinct three-toed horses in modern times? Fossils out of place? Supposed ancestors and descendants living together? Read about these problems which plague the assumed evolutionary history of the horse.

   Some years ago a noted scientist rose to challenge the commonly accepted evolutionary family tree of the horse. The occasion was an august British science association meeting.
   The scientist was Profess or T. S. Westoll, Durham University geologist.
   Professor Westoll told a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Edinburgh that nearly everyone had taken the early classical evolutionary tree for granted. The idea that one may trace the beginning of the horse family from the small, dog-sized eohippus to our present-day horse was all wrong, he announced. He did not, mind you, denounce the evolutionary theory. But he did contest major parts of the evolutionary horse family tree in favor of his version.
   But why? The family tree of the horse is supposed to be the most convincing example of evolution in action!

What People Assume

   Most laymen, students and even professors assume that the leading authorities in paleontology have proof for what they say. People accept the casual statements of these experts (sometimes to the chagrin of those that utter them) as rock-hard fact. What may be a chance remark, a guarded statement in a scientific meeting, becomes "gospel truth" in the newspapers and textbooks.
   All too often, students and professors casually read over such statements as "we assume," "perhaps," "possibility," "according to the best evidence," "we think," "our theory is."
   A theory, a hypothesis, an unproved set of assumptions is then accepted as unassailable truth. In reality, it has never really been proved. Nowhere is this state of affairs more in evidence than in the supposed evolution of the horse.
   If the horse tree is so logical, so precise, so correct, how can a scientist and a geologist at that stand up and propose a new tree for the horse? This new tree would thoroughly disrupt the pattern of horse evolution built up over a century by dozens of experts. Why such disagreement over a genealogy cited as the best example of evolution in action?

"Toe in Mouth" Problem

   Evolution claims that today's one-toed horse evolved through successive five-toed, four-toed and three-toed stages.
   One might ask, "What happened to the two-toed stage?"
   Much of the evolutionary case also rests on a supposed change from low-crowned to high-crowned teeth. A change in size from small to large is also hinted at.
   For example, a three-toed horse called Merychippus supposedly began his evolutionary history somewhere roughly 20 million years ago, his remains today being found in what are called Miocene strata.
   This and other three-toed horses, claims evolution, evolved into the present-day one-toed horse in the Pliocene, perhaps eight million years ago. If they had to evolve, these three-toed horses should have become extinct.
   Therefore, no three-toed horses should have been around for the last few millions of years. Otherwise, where is the need for evolution? If a three-toed horse managed to survive all these millions of years, there was no need for him to evolve. Now look at the facts

Three-Toed Horses in Modern Times

   Three-toed horses known in modern times? Shocking as it may seem, it is nonetheless true!
   This amazing fact is found buried In a 1922 Guide to the Specimens of the Horse Family! Department of Zoology, British Museum of Natural History, pp. 10, 11.
   It discusses the foot bones of three Shire horses. One was called Blaisdon Conqueror, another Prince William. The third was unnamed.
   Of Prince William, this Guide said he "MAY BE SAID TO BE A VERITABLE THREE-TOED HORSE."
   The second horse also displayed this three-toed characteristic. Said the Guide, "The cannon-bones of 'Blaisdon Conqueror' also display an EQUALLY large development of the splint bones."
   In fact ALL THREE of the horses were three-toed. The Guide continued: "There is the remarkable fact that three skeletons of Shire horses exhibit more or Jess strongly developed rudiments of the lateral toes of the extinct three-toed Hipparion.
   "The obvious inference is that this IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE BREED!
   "In a certain sense, therefore, a considerable number of existing horses are really three-toed animals."
   Why haven't these facts been publicized? Why haven't they been given their true meaning and importance?

Unraveling the Truth

   These Shires were an example of what may be called "living fossils" animals supposedly extinct but turning up unexpectedly to embarrass evolutionists!
   This information is available in England for leading paleontologists to see, to evaluate and understand. It has been cited before but the significance of these facts probably has never before been published.
   American paleontologists also had similar facts available to see. In fact, the Yale Peabody Museum which has the world's second-best collection of fossil "horses" also has evidence of modern multitoed horses.
   "The Yale collection contains specimens representing three examples of the occurrence of extra toes in the modern horse... although they are abnormal in the development of one lateral digit only... as we know of no two-toed fossil horses." (The Evolution of the Hone family, Richard Swann Lull, p. 9.)
   Right here is rather an embarrassing problem. Can evolution really ask a person to believe that horses "jumped" from three toes to one with no intermediate fossils? Certainly, one would
ARGENTINE LILLIPUTIAN HORSES Are these an evolutionary link in horse evolution? Or just a variety within the species? (See PDF for Pictures)
want some strong proof before accepting such an idea.
   The author then goes on to another shocking example of multi toed horses.
   "Pliny the Elder, a naturalist, in A.D. 79, tells us in his Natural History: 'It is said also, that Caesar the dictator had a horse which would allow no one to mount him but himself, and that its fore-feet were like those of a man.' Unquestionably this description is some~ what highly colored, but a multi toed horse without doubt forms the basis for the legend." (Ibid. p. 9.)
   Here is proof against the theory of evolution. But the facts are glossed over.
   Because there is no room for such facts within the framework of evolution. Since it is assumed that the horse evolved, such vital facts became unimportant curiosities.

Three Toed or One Toed?

   Even the "three-toed one-toed" idea is simply not the whole story. Modern horses are not strictly "one toed." There are small digits on either side of the big toe.
   "Horses are said to be... single-toed, but the term is not strictly accurate" (A History of Land Mammals, William B. Scott, page 294).
   Then put this statement with one about Merychippus, the supposed three-toed ancestor of the supposed one-toed horse:
   "Merychippus... is three-toed... digits two and four vary somewhat in development in the different species, though never reaching the ground, so that the feet are functionally one-toed." (Richard Swann Lull, pp. 22, 23.)
   Are you confused? So are the paleontologists!

Any Reason for Side Toes?

   Many paleontologists have puzzled over the function of these side toes. Some have claimed they had no function. One eminent paleontologist disagreed. His disagreement focuses on a vital problem of evolutionary theory.
   "In Merychippus the side toes were still present and fully formed and each still ended in a well-developed hoof. In the resting position, however, the side hooves did not quite reach the ground, so that their function, if any, is rather puzzling.
   "It has been commonly supposed that they had no function at this time....
   "Although this is stated or implied in almost every previous summary of horse evolution, it almost certainly is not true... I think that this may be another case where we have gone astray because we have thought of extinct horses as skeletons standing stiffly in museum cases, and not as the mechanical frameworks of living animals....
   "When a spring-footed horse is galloping and lands on the middle toe, this toe is bent upward far beyond its normal resting pose. At the point of extreme flexion, the short side toes of Merychippus and its later three-toed descendants would touch the ground. May they not, then, have had an essential function to act as buffers to stop the bending of the middle toe at this point and to lessen the danger of spraining the elastic ligaments by stretching them too far?" (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 260, 261.)

A Problem of Lameness

   Lameness is distressingly frequent in certain breeds of supposedly improved domestic horses, and this is almost always caused by injury to the spring mechanism of the feet. The speed mechanism of modern horses can bear little more weight.
   A veterinary authority laments:
   "Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds often have feet that are too small to bear the weight of the animal. This is brought about by selective breeding, and although it gives the horse a pleasing appearance, it subjects the foot to greater concussion because the shock is distributed over a smaller area." (Lameness in Horses, O. R. Adams, pp. 27, 28.)
   Then a larger hoof with three toes would allow a horse to bear more weight. In fact, a three-toed horse would in certain cases perhaps be a more efficient animal.
   What is the point? Evolution demands "improvement." But for its purpose a three-toed horse is equally as good as a one-toed horse. No room for evolution here.

What About Size Increase?

   Neat diagrams of horse evolution imply that the horse evolved from a dog-sized ancestor to its present size. But a quick look at our animal world shows this is not really a proof at all.
   A simple listing of horse species immediately makes clear how much the living forms vary in size.
   There's a lot of difference between a 2200-pound Shire, a sleek Thoroughbred, a diminutive Shetland pony. But the differences do not stop here.
   Several breeders have claimed success in making horses so small that they look like good-sized dogs.
   A man in West Virginia says he raises ponies that are no larger than 32 inches high. The littlest, Sugar-dumpling, stands 20 inches low and weighs 35 pounds. He resembles a shaggy dog and is treated as a house pet.
   An Englishman from Southall is said to raise portable household donkeys. For two decades this man has been breeding donkeys down to size. When full-grown his specimens compare in size with St. Bernard dogs.
   Another miniature strain being produced is the Argentine lilliputian horse. This breed is also about the size of the St. Bernard weighing about 200 pounds and measuring 30 inches high.
   One can see these lilliputian horses by going to the Regina Winery in Southern California where they are bred from imports.

A Wrong-Sized Horse

   It should be quite clear that the analogy of size increase means nothing. Are we to say dog-sized lilliputian horses evolved INTO massive Clydesdales?
   Of course, not! They are BOTH with us today. We should apply that same type of reasoning to the fossil record. A difference in size does not connote evolution.
   Even here the fossil record speaks quite eloquently on the matter. It concerns fossils of Archaeohippus, a horse too small for its supposed place in the array of horse evolution.
   Speaking of these fossils, paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson says, "This reversal of the usual but by no means constant, tendency for the horses to increase in size is of extraordinary interest." (Horses, p. 171.)
   Why "extraordinary interest?" Because it upsets a major concept of horse evolution. It proves untenable the idea that increase in size is a proof of horse evolution.

How About Tooth Size

   Next to toe reduction, the strongest claim for horse evolution is supposed to be a change in tooth size. Certain horses were supposed to have low-crowned teeth, others high-crowned.
   Eohippus the so-called dawn horse had low-crowned teeth. In last month's installment, we saw that eohippus is not a horse. Then there was Mesohippus, probably an extinct animal UNRELATED to the horse. He too, had low-crowned teeth.
   Before going further, let's understand one point. Classification experts say there are only six living genera of odd-toed mammals which include the horses.
   But from fossil bones, paleontologists reconstruct one hundred and fifty-two genera of odd-toed mammals.
   What's the significance of this?
   Simply that the horse kind may have had many more representatives in the past. There would be no evolution here; only much greater varieties within a single type. The same with differences in tooth structure. Even scientists admit, "...Species of horse with high-crowned cheek teeth lived alongside less specialized... browsing forms." (An Introduction to the Mammalian Dentition, T. Wingate Todd, p. 227.)
   Whether all fossils dubbed "horses" are or are not horses is beside the point. Paleontologists find bones of claimed ancestors and descendants In strata they label by the same name I
   What is the conclusion?
   These were all animals whether
Supposed evolution of horse feet. Neat charts in science texts place side views of forefeet of, from left to right, eohippus = Hyrocotherium, Mesohippus, Merychippus and Equus. Drawn to scale. As articles show, implied analogies are not proof of a point. (See PDF for Pictures)
horses or not living at the SAME TIME.
   Where is evolution here? It is at this very point of further supposed tooth and toe changes in the fossil record that paleontologists are most confused. In seeking to find "where" tooth and toe changes occurred, they find a fossil record that makes no sense in terms of evolution but one that does make sense once we divorce ourselves from this theory.

A Horse Out of Place

   What happens if bones which appear to be of the same animal are found in both "younger" and "older" strata? The paleontologists simply give the bones a different name! Or if the supposed ancestor and descendant are found together, the fossils are called "problematic" or labeled "parallel evolution," "conservative characteristics" or some such similar scientific-sounding phrase. Or the strata are renamed.
   Otherwise, if the significance of the fact that the same animals are found in strata called by different names (and given different ages) were admitted it would immediately disrupt the evolutionary theory.
   Stratigraphy would then have no meaning in terms of evolution. It would be clear that life in certain strata had simply perished together! It just happened that in one region more of a particular creature died than in another.
   Sometimes the overwhelming evidence is so glaring that evolutionists themselves recognize the theory must be revised. It never is discarded! Such was the case with the lauded five-toed ancestor of the horse.

A Five-Toed Stud Needed

   Scientists had dubbed some bones by the lofty title of Phenacodus and christened him the ancestor of eohippus. Textbooks repeated this idea.
   But soon it was discovered that Phenacodus could not be the ancestor of eohippus. Paleontologist Alfred S. Romer tells us:
   "This interesting form (Phenacodus) was once believed by some to be the actual ancestor of many of the hoofed mammals. This cannot be the case, for it is a bit too late in time [it was contemporary of eohippus] and was also somewhat too large to fit into the early ancestral stages of most later times." (The Vertebrate Story, Alfred S. Romer, pp. 255-256.)
   What is meant by contemporary? Simply, the bones of Phenacodus were discovered in the same kind of strata as eohippus-type animals. This simply wouldn't do for evolution.
   Otherwise, the five-toed ancestor that supposedly evolved into a four-toed one was living alongside its descendant.

Dumping Your Ancestors

   Actually, the trouble with Phenacodus was not only his place in the rocks. His size was wrong and so were other characteristics. Evolutionists finally had to dump him from his base position in the supposed evolution of the horse.
   But for at least a generation science students were fed this concept.
   "Phenacodus primaevus... found by Professor Cope, was hailed by him as the 'five-toed horse,' and an illustration of it has appeared in many textbooks under that label. It is far too large and in some respects too specialized to be in the equine series and moreover is contemporary with eohippus." (The Evolution of the Horse Family, Richard Swann Lull, 1931, pp. 5, 6.)
   Of course, if you had lived shortly after Cope's pronouncement you would have been committing intellectual suicide to question whether in fact Phenacodus had evolved into eohippus.
   Perhaps, as a reputable scientist, one may have been able to challenge Phenacodus. But to go on and challenge evolution? Never.

On to the Next Link

   We have yet to discuss the three-toed animal with the low-crowned teeth, Mesohippus. Evolution claims he links eohippus with a later form called Merychippus.
   In 1875, O. C. Marsh proposed a new genus to be called Mesohippus. This was to be another rung in the horse genealogy.
   Fossils of this animal had been found back in 1850. Joseph Leidy, well known 19th century paleontologist, had looked over the bones and described them. He called the fossils Palaeotherium Bairdii referring it to an extinct species of animals.
   In other words, as far as he was concerned the bones did not resemble any living mammal. But Marsh, with horse evolution on his mind, renamed it Mesohippus bairdii and dubbed it as evolving from eohippus.

No Intermediate Species

   But just how close is Mesohippus to eohippus? The paleontologists admit there is a wide gap between the bones of these two animals. Paleontologist R A. Stirton frankly says:
   "The immediate ancestry of Mesohippus is not definitely known" (Phylogeny of North American Equidae, R. A. Stirton, p. 169.)
   Here a leading paleontologist says the "immediate ancestor of Mesohippus is not definitely known." There is a sudden appearance of so-called three-toed horses.
   If evolution were indeed a fact, we should expect to find intermediate development. But we find no such steps.
   And to say the Oligocene Mesohippus is "widely separated" from the Eocene eohippus is to understate the problem. In fact, there is no relation between them. Here is the proof.

A Brainless Horse?

   Scientist Tilly Edinger, in his monumental book, Evolution of the Horse Brain, came to the conclusion that there are "conspicuous differences between the brains of eohippus and Mesohippus" (p. 135).
   Simpson writes of the brain of Mesohippus, "The brain case had become swollen, and its internal cast shows a remarkable transformation 111 comparison with Eocene forms." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, p. 164.) Actually, "transformation" is not the right word. Rather the brain of Mesohippus is remarkably different from that of eohippus.
   Where is evolution here? Where are all the intermediate forms? There are none; there never were any. Mesohippus simply did not evolve from eohippus. And did Mesohippus really look like a horse? No, not at all.
   "Mesohippus is about the size of a large dog, such as a pointer or a greyhound, and has the more slender proportions of the latter, but these animals already... looked like miniature horses... horse-like as they seem, almost every detail of structure, from the incisor teeth to the hinder hoofs is notably different from the corresponding part of Equus." (A History of Land
How DIFFERENT ARE THEY? Photographs show bones dubbed Miohippus (left) and Mesohippus (right). Evolutionists sometimes implied that one evolved from the other. However, experts have been forced to conclude that there really isn't too much difference between the two. They are simply closely related varieties of the some type of animal. Often, even paleontologists cannot tell the difference between bones dubbed by these two names. Another example where evolutionary theory obscures the true facts. (See PDF for Pictures)
Mammals in the Western Hemisphere, William Berryman Scott, pp. 410, 411.)
   How can Mesohippus look like a horse when in almost every detail he appears different from a horse? This becomes an insult to intelligence.
   Then compare this paradox!
   Large numbers of bones which look like horses are found in South America. Some of the foot bones appear to be "more" one-toed than the present one-toed horse. But they are called "false horses."
   These animals looked like horses; took the place of horses. But say evolutionists they are NOT horses. Why? They are found in strata much too "early." If evolution had to admit there were horses long before horses were supposed to evolve, it would strike a death blow to the theory.

What Happened to Mesohippus?

   Evolutionists would tell you that Mesohippus gradually died out over millions of years. But that is not what the fossil record reveals!
   A shocking quote dearly shows that a sudden catastrophe wiped out Mesohippus.
   "In 1922, an Amherst party ran upon a bed where a layer about a foot and a half in thickness was exposed along about one hundred feet of a ravine.
   "This layer of day and sand was filled with fragments of bones and jaws of rhinoceros and horse, and it is safe to say there were twenty-five jaws of Mesohippus in every cubic foot of the layer.
   "All were broken and mixed up.
   "Very seldom was a long bone complete, and at the same time they were not broken to bits nor weathered, each fragment being cleanly broken and every tooth perfect. It looked like... their bones had been tramped into the mud and broken before the whole was buried." (The Evolution of the Horse, Frederick B. Loomis, p. 104.)
   These bones were buried by sediment-filled waters. The encasing material is sand and clay.
   The Mesohippus bones were not weathered proof of immediate burial. The jumbled and tangled mess of Mesohippus bones also clearly shows this sudden burial was violent!
   But evolutionists simply do not understand such facts in their true light. These proofs from the fossil record are usually passed off as rubbish piles of "early man" or watering holes where large numbers of mammals died.
   But the facts often tell a different story.
   They tell of burial; sudden burial; VIOLENT burial!
   True horses suffered the same type of destruction as Mesohippus.

Why Become Extinct?

   Few realize that the horse, an Old World animal has been given a North American genealogy! That is, the supposed evolution of the horse is built up from fossils discovered in North America. However, from the time of the great catastrophe until 1519, it is generally agreed there were no living modern horses on the American continent. They had become extinct in North America.
   In February, 1519, horses were brought to the New World by Hernando Cortes. The early Indian horses of the Southwest were supposedly acquired from missions and traders at a later period.
   The sudden "great dying" of horses in North America is one of the great unsolved problems of paleontology. Especially since conditions in our West were such that the few horses which escaped from the Spanish explorers increased phenomenally in numbers!
   One leading scientist puzzled over this, saying:
   "The extinction of the horse over the whole of North America and South America, where they had roamed in vast herds during the Pleistocene, is one of the most mysterious episodes of animal history....
   "There has been no lack of speculation and a dozen possible explanations have been suggested, but all of these lack evidence and none is really satisfactory... this seems at present one of the situations in which we must be humble and honest and admit that we simply do not know the answer.
   "It must be remembered too that extinction of the horses in the New World is only part of a larger problem. Many other animals became extinct here at about the same time." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 198, 200.)
   In other words, catastrophe of unprecedented proportions had to wipe the horse off the face of North America. Otherwise, we are left with no logical explanation.

The Conclusion of the Matter

   What you have read in these two installments is only the tip of the information iceberg, thoroughly proving the horse did not evolve.
   Yet, many leading scientists believe it did evolve. Why?
   If you have cancer and the doctor tells you that you have one chance in a hundred of surviving, you would not be very happy. Suppose he said you had one chance in a million of living to a ripe old age. Not much "probability" of living out your three score and ten. Julian Huxley gives us such odds for a horse to evolve.
   "A thousand to the millionth power, when written out, becomes the figure 1 with three million noughts after it: and that would take three large volumes of about five hundred pages each, just to print!
   "... one with three million noughts after it is the measure of the unlikeliness of a horse the odds against it happening at all. No one would bet on anything so improbable happening; and yet it has happened." (Evolution in Action, Julian Huxley, p. 42.)
   You would not bet on that kind of odds if it were YOUR life.
   No it has not happened!
   The only possible proof of evolution, the fossil record, speaks eloquently against such an idea. Everywhere, the fossil record cries out, "The horse did not evolve!"
   The facts have been presented. Whether you accept or reject them is your decision. If you reject them, you will be missing out on the deep meaning of how this universe, this earth and life upon it came to be. You will miss out on understanding why you are here and what your purpose in life really is.

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Plain Truth MagazineDecember 1969Vol XXXIV, No.12