What if the Horse had stayed about 1 meter tall?

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What if the Horse had stayed about 1 meter tall?

Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni on Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:34 pm

The fossil record shows horses evolved into larger and larger animals very gradually, over tens of millions of geologic years. Isn't it a happy coincidence that they arrived at a size where they could carry humans at about the time we could domesticate them? But what if they hadn't? What if the Merychippus was our horse?

Warfare would have developed in completely different ways. The Merychippus was a thin boned little pony at best, probably inferior to a llama in terms of what it could carry or pull. It might still have been domesticated, as sheep and goats were, and might have been put to work in teams of four drawing carts or light chariots at modest speeds. But military cavalry in the historical sense would not have been possible. How would this have affected history? Steppe nomads like the Huns, Turks, Mongols, and etc. would never have become the menace they were to the Chinese and European civilizations, but would Chinese and European civilizations even have developed the way they did? It seems conquests would have been limited to neighboring territories, and rich nations would not have had as great an advantage over poor ones as heavy cavalry would have been nonexistent and the cost of outfitting them would therefore have been a non-factor in the development of Bronze Age and a Iron Age military industrial complexes.


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Thorfinn Karlsefni
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