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Preliminary investigation of morphological differences between ten breeds of horses suggests selection for paedomorphosis. (Special Issue: Equitation science.)

By D. Goodwin, M. Levine, P. D. McGreevy

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Abstract

Paedomorphosis is the retention of juvenile morphology at maturity and is important in generating evolutionary change in domestic species and species in the wild. When comparing dogs with the wolf, this preliminary study saw paedomorphosis in their physical and behavioural traits (Goodwin, Bradshaw, & Wickens, 1997). This preliminary study compared morphological characteristics of 10 breeds from northern regions (Shetland ponies) and southern regions (Arabians) with the Exmoor pony. Twenty-three respondents from the United Kingdom and Australia rated the breeds for 7 physical traits. As evidenced by low standard deviations, the respondents demonstrated a high degree of agreement. The study ranked breeds from the most similar (Highland pony) to the least similar (Arabian) to the Exmoor pony. The least similar breeds had physical traits suggestive of paedomorphosis: small heads, long legs, and a low head-to-body ratio. This preliminary study suggests that morphological, behavioural, and physiological differences between the breeds-plus morphometric comparisons of extant breeds and faunal remains of predomestication horses-warrant further study.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 204-212
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888700802100918
Language English
Author Address School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK.D.Goodwin@soton.ac.uk
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Tags
  1. Animal anatomy
  2. Animal genetics
  3. Animals
  4. Australasia
  5. Australia
  6. Breeding
  7. Breeds
  8. British Isles
  9. Canidae
  10. Canine
  11. Carnivores
  12. Characteristics
  13. Commonwealth of Nations
  14. Comparisons
  15. Developed countries
  16. Dogs
  17. Europe
  18. Evolution
  19. Great Britain
  20. Horses
  21. Mammals
  22. morphology
  23. Oceania
  24. OECD countries
  25. peer-reviewed
  26. ponies
  27. retention
  28. traits
  29. ungulates
  30. United Kingdom
  31. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed