Picture by Leonard Popov and Eugeny Hontor

Can large herbivores mammal ( hoofed mammals in particular) survive in case of mass extinction? Not all of them are capable to do it. The specialized species showing rigid requirements to an inhabitancy, most likely quickly will die out at its change. And among species, satisfied with minimum of the optimal factors easily adapting and adapted to inhabiting in extreme natural conditions, it is possible to find candidates for a survival in conditions of geological and ecological cataclysms. Well-known donkeys (Equus asinus) can become such animals. Real wild donkeys in XX century stand at the edge of extinction, but domestic donkeys due to people had widely settled on Earth. Their became wild descendants are capable to survive in conditions of poor forage and lack of water. Such unpretentiousness also gives them chance of survival.

Existence in Neocaenic America of the present species of herbivores is result of people activity. In Pleistocene horses had completely disappeared in New World, and only due to people they had appeared there again. Asinohippus (literally: “the donkey horse”) is the direct descendant of become wild donkeys of Northern America. Externally this animal is similar to the large mule, but coloring of it is more similar to coloring of wild donkey. Height of an animal is up to 1,8 m. Body of animal is grey, tail and short mane, and also "belt" on back are black. Legs, belly, "glasses" around of eyes and tip of muzzle are white. On shoulders and hips there are numerous cross black strips. Hoofs are black. The foal (almost always only one foal is born, birth of twins is extremely rare case) is born without strips on legs and with dark, almost black coloring of wool.


Picture by Pavel Volkov - the initial image

Ears of animal are longer than horse’s ones, black, with hairy brushes of long wool on tips: this wool allows to direct to the ear sound waves (as at lynx) better: hearing of an animal is very keen. Eyes are protected from dust and dry winds by rich eyelashes. Muzzle is short and jaws are high; teeth of donkeyhorse are strong, constantly growing. The reason of this feature is animal’s ration: rigid graminoids.

Donkeyhorse keeps on plains and in semideserts by small herds from one dominant male, several females and foals. Young males can form small "barchelor" herds. During the rut between males serious fights for the female harem can be fastened sometimes resulting in fatal outcome. It can run fast and long time, not conceding of the horse in speed. It is capable to not drink about several days, getting moisture from plants. In case of strong thirst animal can dig out of the ground roots and tubers of plants by hoof.

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