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Re: Vestigial horse toes - Follow-up.

Wow, that's pretty neat...

I remember reading in a decidedly less scientific tome by the name _Famous
Horses and Their People_ that Alexander the Great's horse Bucephalus had
vestigal toes as well..I wonder if there could be a confusion in folklore
with Julius Caesar...

Andrea Kirk
Computer Science and Japanese Language
University of Maryland

----- Original Message -----
From: "Edels" <edels@email.msn.com>
To: <bettyc@flyinggoat.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2000 4:08 AM
Subject: RE: Vestigial horse toes - Follow-up.

> I've finally dug up some source material, and I'm embarrassed to admit
> I've implicated the wrong European emperor - Julius Caesar had a
> horse. NOT Napoleon!
> As I indicated before, the source I was referring to was "Hen's Teeth and
> Horse's Toes" by Stephen Jay Gould (In the essay of the same name).
> He quotes Suetonius: "[Caesar] used to ride a remarkable horse, which had
> feet that were almost human, the hoofs being cleft like toes.  It was born
> in his own stables, and as the soothsayers declared that it showed its
> would be lord of the world, he reared it with great care, and was the
> to mount it; it would allow no other rider."
> Adding a tiny bit of dinosaur info to this post about horses (and hens),
> there is a paper referred to in Gould's essay:
> Marsh, O. C. 1892 "Recent polydactyle horses."
> American Journal of Science 43:339-55.
> Yes, that O. C. Marsh.  Gould's essay includes a figure from Marsh's paper
> of the "horned horse from Texas".  This shows a horse with 3 toes on the
> rear legs (digits II, III, and IV), and 2 toes on the front legs (digit
> and III). [Note: 'Normal' horse has only digit (toe) III].  The horse is
> very similar (in form of its toes at least) to its ancestor, _Mesohippus_.
> This drawing is the basis for my slightly mistaken memory, although my
> description of the size and position of the vestigial toes was essentially

> correct.
> According to Marsh, and a later German study (not listed in the
> bibliography); in two-thirds of these horses, the extra toe was a
> digit III, but in the other third, the extra toes were fully developed
> versions of the normally vestigial splints of digits II and IV (or only
> In other words, this third were showing atavisms.
> Gould also talks about some work done to cause hen's teeth to grow, as
> as some related topics.  Even though the publication is 16 years old, it
> still has some valuable insights and information.
> Allan Edels