Hippidion (meaning little horse) was a horse that lived in South America during the Pleistocene epoch, between two million and 10,000 years ago.


Hippidion has been considered a descendant of pliohippines,[1] horses that migrated into the South American continent around 2.5 million years ago.[1][2] However, recent analysis of the DNA of Hippidion and other New World Pleistocene horses supports the novel hypothesis that Hippidion is actually a member of the living genus Equus, with a particularly close relationship to the wild horse, Equus ferus.[1][2]

Hippidion and other South American horses went extinct approximately 8,000 years ago. Specific archaeological recovery at the Cueva del Milodon site in Patagonian Chile demonstrates that Hippidion saldiasi[3] existed in that vicinity in the era of 10,000 to 12,000 years before present. Horses did not reappear there until the 16th century, as a result of introduction by humans.


It stood approximately 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) (also 13.2 hh) high at the shoulders and resembled a donkey. Evidence from the delicate structure of the nasal bones in the animal suggests that Hippidion evolved in isolation from the other horse species of North America.


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