Taxonomy and dietary behavior of Equus conversidens (Perissodactyla, Equidae) from the late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) of Hidalgo, central Mexico
A comparative study of equid cranial and dental material, recovered from unnamed fluvio-lacustrine deposits of late Pleistocene age that crop out in southeastern Hidalgo, allowed to assign the fossil sample to Equus conversidens. The record gives additional evidence on the widespread distribution of this species throughout the North American subcontinent during the last two million years. On the other hand, we evaluated the dietary behavior of this Equus population from Hidalgo by the extended mesowear analysis method. The observed mesowear pattern is comparable to that of the recent grazer species Bison bison. These species display a particular combination of low occlusal relief and blunt cusps. This suggests that the horse population from Hidalgo was a grass feeder that incoporated abrasive food items into its diet (grass and/or extrinsic grit). The results provide evidence for the existence of local grazing habitats in central Mexico during the late Pleistocene; furthermore, the associated herbivore fauna indicates wooded areas as well, thus suggesting a heterogeneous habitat.
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