Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Giant Zebra defies Horse Evolution Chart

Many thousands of fossils have been recovered from the Gladysvale deposits . . . . From the Gladysvale external deposits (also called the GVED), almost a quarter of a million bones have been recovered since excavations began in 1992. There are many hundreds of bones still in place in the cave. Fossils recovered include antelope,


giant zebra,


carnivores including extinct wolves,. . . . .


From the galleries of the BPI: The Cape Giant Zebra


This specimen is a partial set of jaws of Equus capensis, the so called cape giant zebra, from Makapansgat, the most northerly australopithecine site in South Africa.


Equus capensis was a Zebra species that lived during the Pleistocene and even into the Recent. It died out about 12,000 years ago. This species is sometimes referred to as the “cape zebra”. It was larger than zebras of today. Equus carpensis was about 1.9 m. (6.2 feet) tall at the shoulder. (Low estimate)  Fossils of E. capensis have been found in South Africa.


Fossilized remains of Equus capensis have been discovered in Equus Cave in the Taung district of Northwest Province in South Africa. This cave was excavated in the years 1978-1982 by Beaumont (of McGregor Museum) and Shackley. Fossils have also been unearthed at the Elandsfontein site in South Africa.


Remains of a very large and robust Equus were discovered in the Geometric Kebaran of Umm el Tlel (about 14,500 to

16,500 BP). By inference, this animal weighed more than 500 kg (greater than the largest extant equid, E. grevyi). This animal

may have stood about 163 cm at the withers, which is more than in an average draft horse. Fossils of similar size are

very rare in the Upper Pleistocene. They may be caballine as at San Sidero (Italy) and Norºuntepe (Turkey), zebrine as E.

capensis (South Africa), or of unclear affinity such as E. valeriani (Uzbekistan ) or the large equid from Kom Ombo (Egypt).

More than fifty years ago, Gromova (1946) described Equus valeriani (Fig. 1), an enigmatic equid


from Uzbekistan, based on very large cheek teeth.


Nothing is known about the rest of the skeleton.

Another large upper cheek tooth found in the Mousterian levels of the Teshik Tash cave may also

belong to the same species, although it could just as well be a tooth from a caballine horse (Gromova,

1946). Spassov and Iliev (1997) consider the specimens from Teshik Tash to be from a true horse.

Thousands of kilometers from Samarkand, in the Cape province of South Africa, another equid with

very large ‘stenonine’ lower cheek teeth was described by Broom (1909 and 1913) as Equus capensis.

In that case, however, subsequent findings in many different localities have resulted in the collection

not only of limb bones but also of a skull. The abundant material from Elandsfontein shows that E.

capensis was probably related to plains zebras and that its body proportions were similar to those of

an extant draft horse (Eisenmann, 2000). Large equid remains from South Africa and Namibia, identified

as E. capensis are known from Sterkfontein 5 (about 1.7 Ma) up to the beginning of the Holocene

(Figs. 2 – 4).


What this text is saying,

E. capensis (fossil zebra) was probably related to plains zebras and that its body proportions were similar to those of

an extant draft horse (Clydesdale).


The “Greater Zebra” . . . its body proportions were similar to those of

a. . . . Clydesdale.


Now that is awesome!!!

by Greater Ancestors World Museum on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 11:23pm