Did giant draft horses and sleek Thoroughbreds evolve from rabbit-sized ancestors? Neat diagrams in science textbooks say yes. But research the details and you find a horse of a different color! Increasingly, scientists are questioning what has been the greatest array of "evidence" ever assembled in favor of evolution.
For the last three years, The PLAIN TRUTH has published numerous articles examining the traditional proofs of evolution. Many thousands — teachers, college students, housewives, businessmen, scientists — have written, expressing their gratitude for this expose of evolution. Others, understandably, are still skeptical. Some claim we have only hit the "weak spots" in evolution. Admittedly, they say, evolution does have its multiple weak points. We ought to pick on the "strong points" of the evolution theory, they say. Almost invariably, they cite the supposed evolution of the horse as a prime example.
Did the Horse Evolve?
The saga of supposed horse evolution is found in countless texts in general science. Teachers pointing to neat, scientific-appearing diagrams tell their students, "Here is a simple, easy-to-understand proof that the modern-day horse evolved from a small, doglike ancestor." One individual challenged us to take on this "proof" of evolution and attempt to refute it. In this reader's own words: "I noticed that you perpetually pick on the areas of the evolutionary scheme that are weak. Weak spots do not make a thing wrong. Weak spots indicate a lack of time for drawing evidences. Why don't you pick on some of the well-proven parts of evolution. The evolution of the horse, for example. Every good encyclopedia in the world has that in it. Would they print false information in research books?" This letter illustrates again how much FAITH people have in science. It seemed unbelievable to this person that any untruths could appear in "research books." But research books are not the words of divinity, but the notions of men. And they have contained, in the past, everything from the Piltdown Man hoax to the supposition that mice leapt into being spontaneously from piles of rotten rags. Unfortunately, there are very few scientists who agree among themselves, and there exist almost as many ideas in the evolutionary patchwork of guesses as there are individual scientists to postulate them. But let's get to the point — and not horse around about it.
What CAN Evolution Explain?
We might, of course, ask how many weak points are allowed for a theory? Evolution cannot explain the origin of the universe, the origin of matter, the origin of life. Those are more than just weak spots — they are patently obvious flaws. Evolutionists admit they have no proof for the origin of plants, insects, mammals in the fossil record. In fact, the fossil record, they admit, is weakest in the most crucial points! Since fossils can give the only tangible "proof" for evolution, that is also a mammoth flaw. Evolutionists cannot explain the intricate design found among all living things. The complex interrelationship of life leaves them without an answer. These are also gaping holes in the theory. We might, in fact, ask, "What strong points — if any — are there in the theory of evolution?" Some evolutionists would immediately point to the evolution of the horse. Here at last, they say, is tangible proof from the fossil record that evolution did occur. Is the supposed evolution of the horse scientific truth? You will see.
The All-Important Fossil Record
Look in any textbook on geology or paleontology. You find each contains some statement as: "The most direct sort of evidence on the truth of evolution must, after all, be provided by the fossil record" (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 220, 221). Here, then, is where evolutionists stand and fight. And they have chosen the horse as their most mighty weapon! The question is: Will the idea of horse evolution stand up under the cold, hard light of close scrutiny? For over one hundred years, paleontologists have been amassing fossils, trying to patch together a genealogy for the horse. It all really began about 1859 when Charles Darwin published his book, The Origin of Species. Paleontologists rushed to the fields searching for fossils. With bones of many animals in hand, they began to construct various sequences purporting to show how a particular animal might have evolved from some other form. Their greatest "success" came in putting together sequences of bones to make up the evolution of the horse story. By 1900 the tale was complete. Only minor details have been filled in since then.
A Classroom Tool
This supposed horse sequence is still the best tool evolutionists have to convince others that evolution is a fact. Simpson candidly tells us: "The beautiful series of ancient and modern horses displayed in many museums are still the simplest way to convince any open-minded person that evolution is a fact. You can see it with your own eyes." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, p. xxxiii.) You are confidently informed that fossils of an animal called eohippus (e-o-hi p'-us) gradually changed his teeth, lost three toes and grew in stature to become the horse of today. The average high school or college student is told without hesitation that this is an incontrovertible fact. He is not encouraged to research for himself to find whether the supposed evolution, in fact, did occur. What dozens of paleontologists have put together over a span of one hundred years surely could not be wrong. Or could it?
Can Scientists Be Wrong?
Is it possible then, that the paleontological facts which have been unearthed with spade, shovel and scratcher — were wrongly interpreted? In this article we challenge the interpretation of the facts, not the facts themselves. We quote the admissions of the scientists themselves. Every quote in every article is from a leading scientist respected by his colleagues. Our articles are merely a commentary on their admissions of where the theory is unproven. And, when you amass all the information, shockingly you find — the theory of evolution is unproved everywhere! In most cases, the scientists themselves do not realize the significance of the admissions they make. With this in mind, let's delve into the horse story and see what the paleontologists do admit.
Under Grave Suspicion?
Reading through a book on mammals by a well-known scientist, one is shocked to read that some scientists doubt the neat picture of the horse story. "The origin of the horse was until recently thought to be better known than that of any other mammal; this was based on a series of complete fossil skeletons of dozens of different extinct creatures, starting with simple animals of the size and shape of small dogs with five fingers and four toes, and ending with the modern Thoroughbred. "However, this pleasantly neat evolutionary picture of orderly progression in tooth structure, loss of toes, increase in size, and wrist and ankle elongation has now unfortunately come under grave suspicion. "So many side-branches have been brought to light, so many intermediary forms are completely lacking that we can now only say that the classic description is no more than a guide to the probable steps by which the modern horse evolved." (Mammals of the World, Ivan T. Sanderson, p. 222.) What is this? The simplistic idea of horse evolution under grave suspicion? Too many intermediary or transitional forms completely lacking? Too many "side-branches"? Only a "guide" to the probable steps? George G. Simpson, well-known paleontologist, reveals other problems with the horse history chart so blithely reproduced in the average textbook.
His admission is shocking: "Earlier students usually pointed to the evolution of the horse as a typical example of orthogenesis [straight-line, constant evolution] and the best proof of that theory. It is now seen that this was a serious mistake, a mistake caused
WAS THIS A HORSE? — Artist's concept of eohippus — claimed to be a horse ancestor. Notice what appears to be horse-like head. See article for admissions by paleontologists that skeletal remains demonstrate eohippus was not a "hippus" — did not have a horse-like head. (See PDF for Pictures)
in part by inadequate evidence and in still larger part by superficial and erroneous methods of study. "Some students of evolution who were not really well acquainted with the whole picture of horse evolution simply picked out parts of it that seemed to fit an orthogenetic interpretation, and their false conclusions were accepted and endlessly repeated by others who knew still less about these subjects... There was, for instance, no constant and overall increase in size... The feet did not steadily change from four toes to three and then to one... And so it goes for all the changes that have occurred in the history of the family; not one of them shows the constant, guided change in a single direction that is demanded by the theory of orthogenesis." (Horus) George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 270, 271.) Scientists picked out parts that made the theory appear right? False conclusions accepted and repeated by others? No steady changes in one direction?
If the theory of evolution is so logical, so capable of explaining everything — how did such mistakes occur? Simpson admits there is no proof that the toes steadily changed from four to three (what happened to two?) to one. Paleontologists have no neatly linked transitional creatures. If evolution were a fact, one should see a neat progression — with all intermediate steps logically following each other. But one simply doesn't — not even among the supposed star proof of evolution — our maligned horse. Simpson is not the only paleontologist who discusses this problem. Another well-known scientist frankly tells us: "The horses are often cited as an outstanding example of 'straight-line evolution' or of 'orthogenesis,' and it is frequently maintained that these animals evolved with little deviation, along a straight-line path from the little Eocene Hyracotherium or eohippus to the modern horse, Equus.... "When all fossils are taken into account the history of horses in North America is seen to be anything but a simple progression along a single line of development." (Evolution of the Vertebrates, Edwin S. Colbert, pp. 360, 361.) When you take all the fossils into account, there is, in fact, no evidence of evolution. Paleontologists — in spite of denials — still take the bones that seem to fit their theory. Of course, many questions can be raised. If a five-toed ancestor is "primitive" and a one-toed horse is "progressive" — where does man fit? Man has five toes on each foot, not one. Is man to be considered "primitive"? Evolutionists don't usually consider such "problems." Some scientists were candid enough to face the problems. They did not, of course, renounce evolution — but they at least had the candor to admit there were problems.
To Count or Not To Count
Regarding the supposed reduction of toes, one of the proofs given of horse evolution, Simpson admitted: "Regarding the feet, the old idea of a steady, uninterrupted reduction in number of toes is, as has lately become clear, not only over-simplified but also ESSENTIALLY FALSE... simply counting the toes gives hardly any idea of what was really going on in regard to the functioning foot in the living animals." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, p. 256.) But "counting the toes" is crucial to the idea of horse evolution. The concept of toe reduction and tooth changes are the two major proofs cited for horse evolution. If these are not true, the theory has little by which to defend itself.
A Pony Tale
Let's take the supposed genealogy of the horse step by step. Let's scrutinize each step and see if indeed evolution has occurred. The story of how the horse genealogy was built up is an intriguing one. It goes back to the year 1838. Before this time there were no known bones of such an animal called eohippus. But in that year a discovery of bones was made which took its place at the beginning of the supposed genealogy of the horse. In 1838, William Colchester, an English brickmaster, was digging in the clay banks of the river Deben. He dug so deep that his shovel hit sand. In a shovel full of sand he noticed what looked like an old tooth. In the next year another Englishman, William Richardson, was rummaging around a place called Studd Hill on the coast of Kent. He found a large part of an ancient skull — with most of the teeth well preserved. These have been called the first "horse" fossils discovered. But did they really look like horses? Let's take them at face value — without interpretation. Here is one plain admission. "No one even suspected at that time these were ancestral horses. How could they? The specimens found by Colchester and Richardson had almost no special resemblance to the living horse. "The teeth, instead of the great, ridged, grinding prisms of our present horse, were small, low, and cusped, really more like monkey teeth than horse teeth. The little skull... looked [as its first describer, Richard Owen, remarked] rather like 'that of the Hare or other timid Rodentia.' "From the evidence then available, it would have been most unscientific to jump to the conclusion that this queer little beast was a sort of a horse. Owen named it Hyracotherium [Hie-ra-co-thee'-ri-um]. (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, p. 114.)
Calling a Hare a Horse
Aha! Then eohippus is not a hippus (horse)! Its bones look like a hare or one of the scientific family of Rodentia (such as squirrels, beavers, and porcupines). Perhaps like a modern hyrax, or even the Biblical "coney," sometimes confused with a rabbit. Simpson admits it would have been unscientific to claim this beast was a horse. Then what possible reason would you have for calling it a horse? It didn't look like a horse — different teeth, different skull, different body, different feet! George Gaylord Simpson explains why paleontologists later called this UNhorselike fossil a horse. "Owen compared the small Eocene mammal with the hyraxes... which, indeed, it resembles more than it does the recent horses... When, much later, similar fossils were found in the Eocene of North America, the principle of evolution had been well established. "Professor Marsh [eminent 19th century paleontologist] was therefore able to recognize that these fossils were horse ancestors, and he coined for them the apt and euphonious name Eohippus, 'dawn horse,' referring also to the fact that they occur in the Eocene, 'dawn of the recent,' epoch." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 147, 148, 149.) Instead of taking the bones at face value, as Owen did, Marsh interpreted the bones according to the theory of evolution. He forced the facts to fit the theory. As Simpson admitted in an article appearing some years ago in the magazine Natural History, "The description of Owen would not seem amiss if our mental image of Hyracotherium were not so colored by later knowledge [?] that it was ancestral to the horse." ("Resurrection of the Dawn Horse," George Gaylord Simpson, Natural History. November, 1940.) Any paleontologist wanting to preserve his professional status would never have considered Hyracotherium or Eohippus a horse in 1839. They all called it exactly what it was. "When in 1839 part of a skull was found... in London days, even the most eminent paleontologists of the day little suspected that the 'Eohippus' belonged to the horse family... in fact Sir Richard Owen named its genus Hyracotherium... when he compared it with conies (hyrax), pigs and rodents." (Time, Life and Man, R. A. Stirton, p. 465.)
Eohippus After Evolution
Even as late as 1872 — some 13 years after Darwin published his ideas on evolution — we find the American evolutionary paleontologist, E. D. Cope, still thinking eohippus fossils were what they looked like, not what an evolutionist arbitrarily claimed them to be. Cope found a fragment of a lower jaw and one tooth at Evanstown, Wyoming in 1872. "Cope was no more able to deduce its horse relationships from this fragment than Owen could from similar fragments found 10 Suffolk... Cope also at first confused some of the teeth of dawn-horses [which they are not] and those of monkey-like animals." ("Resurrection of the Dawn Horse," George Gaylord Simpson, Natural History, November, 1940.) Then why were these innocent, rabbit-like bones dumped into the horse family? Let Professor Simpson answer: "The theory of evolution was soon [after 1859] accepted by practically all scientists. "With the firm establishment of this theory, students of fossils, that is, paleontologists, naturally began to look around to see whether they could not,
A FAMILY AFFAIR — Top photo shows skeleton of modern horse alongside reconstruction of its supposed ancestor, eohippus. Paleontologists admit there is no reason to connect eohippus with the horse family — as even the above comparison indicates. Below, four-toed eohippus compared with one-toed horse. Both are distinct mammals with no relationship to each other except in name. (See PDF for Pictures)
by comparing ancient animals of different ages, find the ancestors of living animals." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, p. 115.)
What Was Eohippus?
It's time we cut through the confusion. Let's understand what eohippus was not and what he WAS. The work, in fact, has already been done for us. Scientists simply haven't understood the import of what they say. Note the following which dearly tells us what eohippus was: "The first discovery, made in Europe, was called Hyracotherium [same as eohippus] because of a superficial resemblance to the Old World cony, or HYRAX... some species were 10 inches high at the shoulder, weighed 8 or 9 pounds, and compared with an alley cat in build. Others were 20 inches high and weighed about four times as much. All had arched, flexible backs and high hindquarters, which gave the beasts an almost rabbitlike appearance." (The Fossil Book, Carroll Lane Fenton and Mildred Adams Fenton, p. 417.) There is your answer! The bones called "eohippus" are similar to those of an Old World hyrax, often confused with the coney. Although to make a positive assertion today that eohippus was a type of hyrax would be looked upon as foolish. But to call eohippus a "horse" is absolutely ridiculous. It has no connection with the horse family. Its looks prove it was not an ancestor of the horse.
No Need for Eohippus to Evolve
Besides, why should "eohippus" evolve? He was a creature perfectly made to fit in his own environmental niche. A leading paleontologist admits this to be true: "Eohippus was NOT an imperfect model that needed to have the teeth, feet and other parts rebuilt to make it into Equus. Eohippus was a going concern on its own, a well-adapted animal that got along very well in its own world and following its own habits." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, p. 230.) If eohippus got along well in the world, why did he have to evolve? If you claim he DID evolve, why are there little creatures alive today which so closely resemble eohippus? Evolution cannot answer. This forest-dwelling browser's brain didn't even resemble a horse's brain. One authority admits: "Another MOST UNHORSELIKE characteristic of Hyracotherium was its brain." (Introduction to Evolution, Paul Amos Moody, p. 203.) But in spite of no obvious relationship, evolutionists tried to make eohippus look like a horse. They were determined to have their own way. This little bit of hanky-panky IS commented on by Simpson: "Proportions [for eohippus] are so different from Equus that the head of eohippus, WHEN CORRECTLY RESTORED, does not look like a small horse's head. The snout does taper slightly and suggest the beginning of a muzzle, but at this stage the development is so slight that we should not notice it particularly if we did not know what was to come later. The brain was small and its structure was so primitive that it suggests the most primitive mammal brains, or even the brain of a reptile, more than it does that of the living horse." (Horses, George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 152, 153.) The head DID NOT look like a small horse's head. But scientists, desperately wanting evolution to be true, drew eohippus' head to look like a horse's head! What kind of science is this?
Done in the Name of Science
Why scientists did this is clear. Assuming that "what was to come later" was evolution, evolutionists imagined that eohippus fulfilled their analogy. Hence, he was the "primitive" ancestor of the horse! A small example of how scientists tried to make rabbit-like eohippus look like a horse was not discovered until 1956. "The scapula [shoulder blade] of Hyracotherium has usually been restored to resemble that of later horses... In the collection of the California Institute of Technology are a partial skull and nearly complete post-cranial skeleton from the Gray Bull beds of the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. "Both scapulae [shoulder blades] are virtually complete and are to my knowledge the only ones in existence with the blade intact. I have examined casts of both scapulae. They are far more doglike than horse-like.., the areas of muscle insertion on the medial side of the scapula are as nearly as can be determined from the cast, ALMOST EXACTLY as they are in Canis," (American Hyracotherium, David B, Kitts, 1956, p. 21.) So artists were guilty of stylizing their drawings to force eohippus to fit into the evolutionary theory, What we have are tacit admissions by evolutionists that the neat artists' concepts you see in your science textbooks are NOT ACCURATE. Scientist Theodosius Dobzhansky states without hesitation: "Many textbooks and popular accounts of biology represent the evolution of the horse family as starting with eohippus and progressing in a direct line towards the modern horse, Equus... according to Simpson, this over-simplification really amounts to a FALSIFICATION" (Theodosius Dobzhansky, evolution, Genetics, and Man, p. 302). Did you grasp that? Here an eminent scientist quotes another eminent scientist. He tells us that what teachers and college science students read about this subject in their science textbooks is an "over-simplification" — "a falsification"! Well, it looks like poor eohippus has been rather widely misrepresented. If the animal were alive and could think) he would literally turn over in his grave.
Eohippus and the Hyrax
When you carefully examine the record IN DETAIL some startling parallels between eohippus and the hyrax become evident: One writer says this of eohippus: "The grinding teeth [of eohippus], which had low crowns, were fit only for eating SOFT LEAVES AND PULPY FRUITS. the front feet had four toes, each with a hoof; the hind feet possessed only three" (C. L. Fenton, The Fossil Book, p. 418). Then compare this with a description of the modern hyrax, which some have confused with the cud-chewing coney of the Bible: "A small group of plantigrade-Herbivorous ungulates with HOOFS... FOUR TOES ON THE ANTERIOR [FRONT] limbs and three toes on the posterior [hind] limbs!" (L. A. Adams, Introduction to the Vertebrates, p. 44.) How clear from the characteristics given! The "horse ancestor" was not a horse at all. It was an animal very similar to the hyrax. Both were herbivorous — feeding on plants, soft leaves and pulpy fruits! Notice also that both eohippus and the modern hyrax had four toes on their front limbs — and three on the hind limbs! There are many other likenesses that prove the fossils to be of the same family as the hyrax and not the horse! "In size these animals [hyrax and coney] may be compared roughly to rabbits and hares, and they have rodent-like habits of hunching up their backs" (Encyclopaedia Britannica. 11th edition, vol. 14, art. "Hyracoidean). Both the modern hyrax and the eohippus fossil are "rabbit-like." Both hunch up their backs — another obvious similarity.
Both Had Dog-Like Pads
Hyraxes, like conies, are rock-dwelling animals (see Psalm 104:18; Prov. 30:26). They have pad-like feet to insure a stable under-footing in such rugged country. "The hyracoidea [hyrax family], a group of small, hoofed mammals, including the Biblical coney... climb easily, clinging even to almost vertical surfaces with the PADS ON THEIR FEET" (Encyclopedia Americana, art. "Hyracoidea"). "The feet are completely distinctive, being four toes on the front feet, three on the hind... a single pad makes up the bottom of each foot" (Edwin Colbert, Evolution of the Vertebrates, p. 403). Now compare the modern hyrax — described above — with the assumed ancestor of the horse. You will find the same characteristics present in eohippus: Most of the weight was carried by DOGLlKE PADS on the sales of the feet, not by the hoofs" (C. L. Fenton, The Fossil Book, p. 418). Of course, scientists cannot absolutely tell from the skeletons whether the foot had one single pad like the hyrax or one for each toe like the dog. Again, from another author. the same fact is admitted: "Though there were little hoofs... most of the weight was borne on CUSHIONED PADS back of the hoof" (R. A. Stirton, Time, Life and Man, p. 468).
Continued Next Time
That does it! Eohippus is a fossil type similar to the living hyrax — not the horse. In other words, modern evolutionists gave a wrong name to hyrax-like fossils they found in certain rock strata. They should never have been called "eohippus." The evidence presented in this article has only been a small portion of what is available. In a coming installment, we will see if the next stage of supposed horse evolution, called Mesohippus, can stand up under the cold light of hard fact. As is already abundantly clear, the "strong proof" of evolution, the horse, gives evolution the horse laugh. It's time we take stock of the theories of men. Just because a theory is published in an expensive volume and endorsed by the scientific community DOES NOT necessarily make it so. It's time we opened our eyes and our minds to think for ourselves. Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps God DOES exist? That the myriad creatures, the vast universe, the interdependent life cycles on this earth are the product of this Creator God? You need to look into this important question. You call find out by reading our booklet, Does God Exist? Also, you can find out why this universe is here by reading our highly illustrated brochure, Our Awesome Universe. You can receive this educational literature FREE. It is offered in the public interest.