The dawn horse

Man’s greatest invention was the wheel, but it was the strength and speed provided by the domesticated horse that fully maximized its use. While the dog provided hunting companionship, it was the horse that supplied the power necessary to expand and conquer. Our fascination with the horse dates back to before biblical times, and in the history of art, it remains the most-often depicted animal. For thousands of years, the horse was ancient man’s most precious military weapon. The hundreds of outstanding life-size horse sculptures seen in the Terracotta Warriors of China is one example that testifies to the importance and respect the horse had on civilization. Many horse-based societies have developed totally dependent on the improved mobility horses provide. The Steppe Land Mongols and American Plains Indians are notable examples.

Today, the horse image continues to form a visible part of modern civilization. They are a big attraction in public events—polo, racing, equestrian shows, rodeo, parades, etc.—and are constantly featured in entertainment, commercial, and art venues. They are an eternally beloved animal and symbol of speed and power.

Presented here for sale is a rare fossil of the oldest-known ancestral horse: Eohippus. The specimen is a skeleton that is beautifully preserved and was discovered within 55-million-year-old rocks in Wyoming. Despite the thousands of isolated jaws, teeth, and skeletal fragments collected by museums, a precious few represent complete skeletons, and even rarer are specimens that remain preserved in articulation, such as the fine example offered here.

Moreover, while equids migrated throughout Eurasia, Africa, and South America, their evolutionary birthplace is undoubtedly North America—meaning this important fossil may qualify as a national treasure.

In the world of science, it is no wonder that the horse would have special interest. The evolution of the living horse (Equus) is particularly interesting because it is well documented in the fossil record. Fossil equines provide the best example of progressive change in the study of evolution. The features of body size, teeth, and feet demonstrate a continuous development through millions of years. It is well documented that the single-digit feet and high-crowned dentition in living equine morphology evolved from an ancestor with low-crowned teeth and multi-digit feet. The most popular summarizing this evolutionary progression is often illustrated within a geologic time chart—at the base of the family is the oldest-known horse, Eohippus (Dawn Horse). (See illustration from Matthew, W.D. 1926.)



Order Perissodactyla
Suborder Hippomorpha
Family Equidae
Genus Eohippus
Species undetermined
Nickname Olive


Fossil Lake Quarry near Kemmerer, Lincoln County, Wyoming, USA.


Green River Formation


Early Eocene Epoch – Late Wasatchian Land Mammal Age, 55 million years.


This almost-complete, exquisitely preserved Eohippus skeleton is imbedded in the original rock, lying partially exposed. It was buried with the vertebrae rotated in two places, several ribs displaced, and right femur separated from the pelvic socket, but is otherwise fully articulated. The orientation of the exposed skeleton reveals the dorsal left lateral side of the skull and the thorax section, including forelimbs. The hind limbs and right lateral side are exposed. The bones of this skeleton show little compression or distortion and were meticulously prepared with the aid of a microscope. Thus, the fine detail in this specimen can be appreciated to the highest degree, capturing surface texture of the bone. The skull features the presence of incisors, canines, and complete cheek dentition. The entire matrix block was collected in several sections, and these have been restored back into place. Pelvic region and femora have also been restored, but the caudal vertebrae are lacking. The specimen measures approximately 22 inches and may represent the smallest equid skeleton known belonging to a single individual. Preserved beneath the right foot is a complete skeleton of an extinct species of freshwater herring (Diplomystus dentatus).

Purchase information

The Eohippus skeleton makes for a prestigious and educational exhibit. Sale includes full documentation (photographs, maps, field notes, etc.), available for inspection upon request. Furthermore, letters and legal documents attesting to the ownership of the property where the fossil was discovered are provided as the complete offering.

This fossil skeleton is made available by exclusive agreement Maxilla & Mandible, Ltd., New York by The Dinosaur Company, LLC Utah.

This offer is limited to public museums or institutions to assure that the specimen is available for scientific research.

The specimen is ready for immediate delivery.

Pricing Information Available Upon Request.

FOB Pleasant Grove, Utah, USA.

Download the pdf here.

For information about acquiring this specimen, please complete this form or contact us directly. Serious inquires only.

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