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No. 33: May-Jun 1984

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Horsing Around With Evolution

In the Borrego Badlands of California, Barbara Quinan has stumbled upon the fossilized skull of a modern horse, E. equus. The skull was found in situ, partly mineralized, a process usually requiring hundreds of thousands of years. Mammoth bones punctuate the strata immediately above and below those containing the horse fossil. The paleontological anomaly is that modern horses were supposed to have evolved in Asia and not brought to the New World until the Spanish explorers landed. The only way to evade rewriting horse history is to:

(1) Cast doubt on the dating of the strata, or (2) Insist that the fossil is not really a horse at all but a similar animal, such as the long-headed zebra.

(Smith, Gordon; "E. Equus: Immigrant or Emigrant?" Science 84, 5:76, April 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #33, MAY-JUN 1984. � 1984-2000 William R. Corliss