Fossil range: Middle Eocene
|Species:|| P. parvulum|
| Propalaeotherium parvulum|
Propalaeotherium was an early genus of perissodactyl ancestral to the horse endemic to Europe and Asia during the Middle Eocene.
Its name means "before Palaeotherium", as it is the ancestor of Palaeotherium, another relative of early horses. Although they were descended from the earliest ancestral horse, Hyracotherium, the Propaleotheres and Paleotheres were not the ancestors of the modern horse; their line died out around 34 million years ago, leaving no descendants.
Propalaeotheres were small animals, ranging from 30–60 cm at the shoulder weighing just 10 kg (22 lb) They looked rather like very small tapirs. They had no hooves, having instead several small nail-like hooflets. They were herbivorous, and the amazingly well-preserved Messel fossils show that they ate berries, and leaf matter picked up from the forest floor.
In popular culture
Propalaeotherium was featured in Walking With Beasts, where it is shown as a skittish foraging creature.
- List of mammals
- Evolution of the Horse
- List of prehistoric mammals
- Mammal classification
- ↑ J. J. Hooker. 1986. Mammals from the Bartonian (middle/late Eocene) of the Hampshire Basin, southern England. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 39(4):191-478
- ↑ S. Legendre. 1988. Les communautes de mammiferes du Paleogene (Eocene superieur et Oligocene) d'Europe occidentale: structure, milieux et evolution. Ph.D. thesis, Universite des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc, Montpellier, France. 2 volumes. 1-265.