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travlingypsy 02-22-2009 04:09 PM

Horse evolution?
One of the lesson kids who just started in the 4-h group asked what the chestnuts are on a horse, I showed her (picked one off :-P ) and then she asked what they do, so I told the intructor what she was asking.

She said its when horses had toes and thats what is left of one. She also said thats what the coffin bone and other bones in the lower leg use to be.

IMO I do not believe in evolution. I beilive the whole adam and eve theory. again thats IMO. Im not wanting to get into a touchy subject. I am just looking for other opinions on the horses chestnuts, old toes and prehistoric horses.

What do you think?

moomoo 02-22-2009 04:13 PM

I thought they kept the foals legs together when it is coming out so it doesn't land funny and break a leg :? Just what i have been told :-P

travlingypsy 02-22-2009 04:51 PM

Uh? I havent seen a foal be born, but how would they keep the legs together? Are they like bigger at birth or connected or like they clip on to eachother or something... lol ok maybe that last one is stretching it.

Spastic_Dove 02-22-2009 05:20 PM

old toes like your instructor said

claireauriga 02-22-2009 05:35 PM

I believe the commonly accepted consensus is that it's a vestigial remnant of a wrist pad from when horses had toes (go look at your dog or cat to see the similar structure) or of some sort of scent gland, similar to what deer have.

travlingypsy 02-22-2009 05:44 PM

I didnt know deer had sent glads like that... huh.

claireauriga 02-22-2009 05:59 PM

According to Google, those who hunt venison know to cut the scent glands off as soon as possible to prevent them from spoiling the taste of the meat.

And here are the wrist pads on a dog paw (labelled E, sorry for the large image):

I don't know enough about anatomy to properly speculate on which is more likely to be the origin of a horse's chestnuts.

smrobs 02-22-2009 06:08 PM


Equus caballus or the horse is a mammals. Horses, donkeys, asses and ponies descended from a small dog like creature called hyracotherium. It is common to think of horse evolution as a straight line traceable back to one species, but that is not the case. Over the eons there were many species and sub-species each developing and evolving in response to their particular habitat.
The horse has several clues to its evolution. The chestnut, a growth of horny substance on the bone below the knee and the ergot beneath the fetlock are the remains of toenails. The splint bones (second and fourth metatarsal in the back and metacarpal in the front) and canon (third metatarsal and metacarpal) bones were toe bones. The horse essentially stands on the tips of its fingers and toes.
I found this site, they have a lot more information if you are interested on the history and evolution of horses, although they kinda screwed the location of the chesnuts up LOL. Also if you look up the eohippus, it is believed to be an ancient ancestor of the horse or similar animal.

Understanding Horses - Understand What A Horse Is
Hyracotherium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

wild_spot 02-22-2009 06:58 PM

I'm with smrobs, that's what i have always read. The remains from when horses had toes, they grew up the leg resulting in the chestnuts and ergots, and the hoof is the last remaining toe.

tempest 02-23-2009 07:08 PM

To be truthful, I believe in Adam and Eve, and that horses evolved.

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