How Horses Took Over North America (Twice)

  • Published: 15 August 2018
  • The PBSDS Annual Audience Survey:

    The ancestors of modern horses became so successful that they spread all over the world, to Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. But in their native range of North America, they’ll vanish for 10,000 years. Until another strange mammal brings them back.

    The illustration of Equus Simplicidens--also known as the Hagerman Horse--is by Roger Hall. You can check out more of Roger's work at

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:
    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Kelby Reid, Steph Summerfield, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, Svetlana Pylaeva, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Wilco Verweij, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Elysha Nygård, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Ehit Dinesh Agarwal, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Zachary Winkler, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Joshua Mitchell, Johnny Li, Jacob Gerke, Katie M Vasilescu, Brandon Burke, Alex Yan

    If you'd like to support the channel, head over to and pledge for some cool rewards!

    Want to follow Eons elsewhere on the internet?
    Facebook -
    Twitter -
    Instagram -

    Fossil Horses by Bruce J. MacFadden
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 1 465

  • Craig Ryan
    Craig Ryan  54 minutes back

    Expected a horse army. Truly Disappointed. 1/10, would not recommend.

    • Rebirth Resurrection
      Rebirth Resurrection  5 hours back

      Communal animal

      • Greg Pearcey
        Greg Pearcey  5 hours back

        Historic extinction events were frequently preceded by the incursion of homo sapiens and their ancestors.

        • Scott Andrews
          Scott Andrews  8 hours back

          So cool, I love PBS!

          • Jay
            Jay  9 hours back

            2:07 dicklike fingerbones

            • Lukas Aurelius
              Lukas Aurelius  9 hours back

              The Spanish didn't just bring one or two stallions. They had over a hundred knights to support, and they knew they were colonists needing to breed more, so they also brought brood mares. A ship would carry 6 or 8, or even more horses, and they had lots of ships. Plus, this didn't happen only once.

              Read the history of Cortez' venture into Florida and across the south of North America. They reported losing dozens of horses, escaping and stolen.

              Columbus set up a home base for exploration on the island of Hispaniola, and in the next wave, they were definitely breeding horses there. Since it was already obvious that there were none here, they knew that horses would be a military advantage.

              • Hadouken Hadouken
                Hadouken Hadouken  10 hours back

                How indigenous Indians became extinct in North America.

                - Truth

                • j.ruiz_650
                  j.ruiz_650  20 hours back

                  A lot of “hipiz”

                  • Rey SantibaÑez
                    Rey SantibaÑez  1 days back

                    Please stop acting like evolution is real

                    • WalterRamjet HeroOfOurNation

                      North American Indians like to brag that horses are their heritage and a huge part of their culture. WHAT! not so.

                      • V
                        V  2 days back

                        The only thing I was taught in school was the Spanish brought them over on ships lmao

                        • Mark Randall
                          Mark Randall  2 days back

                          The Appaloosa horse actually came over with the Native Americans from Asia and was here long long before the Spanish and European people brought their horses to the Americas. This video needs to be updated with this information.

                          • Shaun Budd
                            Shaun Budd  3 days back

                            I love this show

                            • Squishy
                              Squishy  4 days back

                              I have a book that shows and explains the entire evolution of a horse. To watch a video explaining how they took over north america is very nice. Thank you
                              Without horses, we would have lost a war. Can't remember which war, but without using horses it would have been lost and some things would be very different today.

                              • Brandon Flores
                                Brandon Flores  5 days back

                                Kinda looks like you

                                • Royle Hun
                                  Royle Hun  6 days back

                                  Dammit even horses are Immigrated to noryh America

                                  • kamion53
                                    kamion53  1 weeks back

                                    Why are ancient horses like Equus simplicidens always depicted with zebra stripes ( mosttime partly)? Is stripes an ancient feature present but domant in all members of the genus Equus or is it a feature that appeared on zebra's only that lived in a tse-tse infested area? One theory states that zebra striping is closely linked to the presence of tse-tse flies against the diseases they carry in frica origanted herbivore are immune, but the later invading equines were not.

                                    • LaughingSeraphim
                                      LaughingSeraphim  1 weeks back

                                      Why five bones in mammal hands and feet?

                                      • Richard Jones
                                        Richard Jones  2 weeks back

                                        Imma get a Rhino and ride.

                                        • TheCortymast
                                          TheCortymast  2 weeks back

                                          The Eohippus is half a meter tall and its descendants grow 30 times their size? If you do the math that would make horses 15 meters tall. Interesting Image

                                          • BroliYTwins
                                            BroliYTwins  2 weeks back

                                            Mankind history would have been so much different without this precise species now I need a what if on that.

                                            • Garry Mcneece
                                              Garry Mcneece  2 weeks back

                                              the mongollian horse is a wild and never domesticated.

                                              • Le Butch
                                                Le Butch  2 weeks back

                                                It sure be nice to see more fossils alongside the illustrations

                                                • barbarynpk 2
                                                  barbarynpk 2  2 weeks back

                                                  Damn rip the little esophagus horsey

                                                  • jack thunderbolt
                                                    jack thunderbolt  3 weeks back

                                                    if you havent already, how about a more in depth look of domestication of horses? (maybe a quick talk about friesians just because i cant get over them)

                                                    • therium Sino
                                                      therium Sino  3 weeks back

                                                      They forgot to talk about hipparion

                                                      • Karin Stebbins
                                                        Karin Stebbins  3 weeks back

                                                        Love your videos

                                                        • Alexis Flores
                                                          Alexis Flores  3 weeks back

                                                          I love you horses 🥰

                                                          • Russell Westbrook Fan since 2010


                                                            • Lor Bmoreflow
                                                              Lor Bmoreflow  3 weeks back

                                                              Theres wild horses near the shore in maryland but we were always told there invasive and Europeans brought em and it changed the natives lives forever. One thing positve eastern world brought my ancestors

                                                              • Michael Colapietro
                                                                Michael Colapietro  3 weeks back

                                                                nature is very smart if you dont want to go extinct attach yourself to humans. Just like horses, dogs, cats, rates and flies.

                                                                • most feared conflict
                                                                  most feared conflict  4 weeks back

                                                                  What beats a pack of predators nothing you can only go fast in another direction

                                                                • king kyrie
                                                                  king kyrie  4 weeks back

                                                                  Now do how emus took over Australia

                                                                • Nike Z7000
                                                                  Nike Z7000  4 weeks back

                                                                  I wouldn't consider a sub species the actual species, just like I would consider home erectus human

                                                                  • MANGESHKUMAR
                                                                    MANGESHKUMAR  4 weeks back

                                                                    kindly make a video on evolution of horse on earth including unicorn and mangolian horses.great video.

                                                                    • Phil B
                                                                      Phil B  4 weeks back

                                                             could there be global warming millions of years ago? There weren't any humans around to cause it. Maybe early mammals were driving cars and we haven't discovered them yet.

                                                                      • MegaJf16
                                                                        MegaJf16  2 weeks back

                                                                        you're trolling right?

                                                                    • Andrew Blucher
                                                                      Andrew Blucher  4 weeks back

                                                                      "One of the most numerous mammals"?
                                                                      That would be after mice, rats, cattle, sheep, humans, ...

                                                                      • John P
                                                                        John P  4 weeks back

                                                                        dude looks like he belongs on the walking dead

                                                                        • awakened_link
                                                                          awakened_link  4 weeks back

                                                                          I like this guy, he's attractive.

                                                                          • Bort Flong
                                                                            Bort Flong  1 months back

                                                                            I'mma let you finish but horses are the most wide-spread mammals of all time

                                                                            • Praxy Yeah
                                                                              Praxy Yeah  1 months back

                                                                              I wonder how we as a species would evolve into. If we ever survive that long. Given enough time.....I wonder.

                                                                              • Mike Davis
                                                                                Mike Davis  1 months back

                                                                                This sounds like a fictious story

                                                                                • Juvenal Dominguez
                                                                                  Juvenal Dominguez  1 months back

                                                                                  Yes more videos like this love it.

                                                                                  • Kill Bill
                                                                                    Kill Bill  1 months back

                                                                                    So the horse didn’t land on America 😂🤦🏾‍♂️ we landed on the horse 🐎😂

                                                                                    • Purple Fire 28
                                                                                      Purple Fire 28  1 months back

                                                                                      These extinct versions of horses sond so cute... If resurrection biology actually becomes a thing, i want one as a pet.

                                                                                      • Cal Sheridan
                                                                                        Cal Sheridan  1 months back

                                                                                        "These creatures were here before us... and if we're not careful, they'll be here after us."

                                                                                        • mullet smith
                                                                                          mullet smith  1 months back

                                                                                          No mention of the pleistocene meteor impact on the north american ice sheet with deposits like the kt boundry with iridium and large amounts of burnt carbon. Which could be a possible reason for the missoula flood as well as alot more just checkout the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.

                                                                                          • Paige Frederick
                                                                                            Paige Frederick  1 months back

                                                                                            Imagine a horse with pointy teeth just launching itself at you