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MESOHIPPUS MIRABILIS by michael bahl





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MESOHIPPUS MIRABILIS

"Marvelous 3-Toed Horse"
Material: Bone, wood, steel
Size: 4 ft H X 6 ft W X 2 ft D

The evolution of the horse (Order: Perissodactyla) includes modification of the foot from four distinct narrow hooves, decreasing to three and, presently, the single hoof which is the remaining middle toe.

This whimsical example was built in Great Britain in 1857 by Emily David, a protegee of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, one of the early creators of life-sized prehistoric statuary. It is believed to have been made for a grandson of Sir Richard Owen, the foremost paleontologist of the period. The rocking horse was kept at the family home in Sussex until 1914 when its history becomes clouded by the storms of the Great War. When, in 1933, the grandson passed away in Paris, no mention was made of the piece.

Following World War II, new construction forced the relocation of many cemeteries throughout Europe. The horse was discovered in a private mausoleum near Warsaw. In the chaos and secrecy of the Cold War it vanished once more, only to resurface in rural North Carolina where it was purchased for restoration.