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Interpretation of Fossils. What plants would live here?

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Presentation on theme: "Interpretation of Fossils. What plants would live here?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Interpretation of Fossils

2 What plants would live here?

3 What are the common adaptations of plants that live in the desert?

4 What animals would live here?

5 What adaptations would animals like mountain goats, mountain lions and elk share?

6 What type of animals would live here?

7 What similar adaptations do animals of the savannah display?

8 What can you infer about climate that this adaptation would be useful for?



11 Horse Fossil Record

12 The modern day horse is the result of over 55 million years of evolution. The fossilized remains of Eohippus, who is also known as the “Dawn Horse” or “Hyracotherium”, is considered to be where the horse or Equus originated from. Eohippus not only developed into Equus, but also led to a whole family tree of horse like species.


14 Eocene Climate When the horse fossil first appeared the climate was like this: Temperatures where high, in 40-50 degrees celcius all over the earth Forests from pole to pole Very few grassess Mainly broad leaf and jungle swamp like, with ferns, red woods, and palm trees

15 Hyracotherium 55 million years ago Small dog sized animal oldest known horse ancestor short face eye sockets in the middle short diastema (space between front teeth and cheek teeth) beginning of horse ridges on molars Molar teeth triangular in shape for eating diverse foods forest dwelling horse During this time period the earth is dominated by large Jungle like forests of ferns

16 Hyracotherium Skull

17 Hyracotherium Feet

18 Mesohippus 37-32 million years ago Similar to the previous horse species, except that it has 3 toes instead of 4 Molar teeth in this species of horse are now square shaped, which indicates it’s diet must have mainly been composed of grass and leaves forest dwelling horse At this time the earth started to cool and forests size started to decrease slightly and grasslands begin to appear

19 Mesohippus Skull

20 Mesohippus Feet

21 Missing Horse Fossil 25 Million Years Ago A fossilized teeth have been found from this time, but no complete skeleton, you must identify what the skeleton of this horse looks like Feet and skull and body skeleton would be in between that of Mesohippus and Miohippus

22 Your Horse is between these 2


24 Climate 25 million years ago A time of cooling around the world Expansion of grasslands Broad leaf rainforests regress to the equator Expansion of angiosperm (flowers), grass species, pea plants and coniferous trees

25 Miohippus 24-17 million years ago Plains dwelling grazer size of a German Sheppard dog horse developed teeth that were tall, or "high-crowned." High- crowned teeth may have permitted this horse to have some grass in its diet. Because grass is an abrasive food that wears teeth down, short teeth in grass-eating animals would result in an early death from starvation. Teeth also had a cementum lining, a protective lining found on modern horse teeth During this time period grasslands underwent a major expansion due to climatic cooling

26 Miohippus Skull


28 Pliohippus 12-6 million years ago The skull of Pliohippus shows the characteristic pre-orbital fossae - - deep depressions in front of the eyes. Evolved to have 1 toe (hoof) Evidence in fossil for the ability to make sounds, could have been for communicating with other horses Grandfather of modern horse species

29 Pliohippus Skull


31 Equus 5 million years ago till present Only surviving genus of horse species Includes domesticated horse breeds, asses and zebras

32 Equus Skull



35 Critical Challenge You must design a horse to fill the empty space in the fossil record Criteria: It must be logical in the horse fossil record timeline Must contain adaptations that are logical for the climate of Earth 25 million years ago All adaptations are scientifically correct adaptations Both behavioral and structural You finished project must have: A sketch of your horse (out of 10) A written description of your horse (out of 20) A justification of your horses adaptations (out of 40) You will also be evaluated on group work (out of 15) and how accurate your answers are (out of 15)

36 Assignment

37 Sketch Sketch of the skeleton of your horse Including: Skull Body Feet Dimensions of height and length

38 Justification of Adaptations You will make a T-Chart to justify all of your horses adaptations Ex. For a dinosaur from the Eocene Description of Adaptation Justification 1. 20 ft. long neck 1. to reach foliage high in a tree 2. Feet directly under body 2. support the mass of the body better

39 Written Description You must provide a written description describing your horse and how it interacted in the environment around it You must describe your horse in detail to explain the criteria of the assignment It must be logical in the horse fossil record timeline Must contain adaptations that are logical for the climate of Earth 25 million years ago All adaptations are scientifically correct adaptations Both behavioral and structural I want you to describe your horse so that the reader could imagine your horse in full detail in their head without looking at the sketch You need a story with a beginning, middle and end that is enjoyable to listen to and read

40 You are in a group of 3 you must accomplish all 3 parts to the task as a group Roles –researcher, drawer, writer Tasks to accomplish in order 1. Background research of the time period’s climate 2. Decide on the horses adaptations 3. Do the justification T-Chart 4. Do the drawing 5. Do the written explanation 6. Evaluate your group members

41 Presentation You will present your drawing and hang a copy of it on the board and justify to the class why you created that drawing The class will then chose which sketch best meets the criteria and we will submit that to the scientific community as a probable intermediary fossil

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