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Hyracotherium was about the size of a dog, around 9 inches (20 centimeters) tall at the shoulder, and about 2 feet (60 centimeters) in length. It had four toes on each of its front feet, and 3 toes on each hind foot.
Hyracotherium was named by Sir Richard Owen in 1841 - its name means "Hyrax-like beast". The alternate name, "Eohippus" was chosen by Othniel C. Marsh in 1876, and means "dawn horse". Marsh did not realize that the animal that he had named, was the same as Hyracotherium, hence the different name - however, now that we know that they are the same animal, Hyracotherium takes priority, as it was the first name used.
One curious piece of trivia about Hyracotherium is that many books describe the animal as being about the size of a fox terrier. Stephen Jay Gould once wrote an essay researching this curiously repeated description, and concluded that it had first appeared in the writings of Henry Fairfield Osborn, and that many subsequent authors have simply repeated the description.
Hyracotherium were herbivorous (plant-eating) mammals that lived between 60 and 45 million years ago
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