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For fossil genera and classification see text
Equidae (sometimes known as the horse family) is the taxonomic family of horses and related animals, including the extant horses, donkeys, and zebras, and many other species known only from fossils. All extant species are in the genus Equus, which originated in North America. Equidae belongs to the order Perissodactyla, which includes the extant tapirs and rhinoceros, and several extinct families.
The term equid refers to any member of this family, including any equine.
The oldest known fossils assigned to Equidae were found in North America, and date from the early Eocene, 54 million years ago. They used to be assigned to the genus Hyracotherium, but the type species of that genus now is regarded to be not a member of this family. The other species have been split off into different genera. These early equids were fox-sized animals with three toes on the hind feet, and four on the front feet. They were herbivorous browsers on relatively soft plants, and already adapted for running. The complexity of their brains suggest that they already were alert and intelligent animals. Later species reduced the number of toes, and developed teeth more suited for grinding up grasses and other tough plant food.