Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Famous Eohippus

A Petition for the Re-Instatement of Eohippus to NAN Qualification Status

Not everyone in the hobby may be aware of this, but several primitive species of
horse--including the famous Eohippus--are currently not eligible for NAN
qualification. To my knowledge, this ban has been active from late 2007 through
to the current day. Eohippuses and Hyracotherium (more on them later) were
allowed to show at NAN in 2007, but banned before NAN 2008. However, given the
most recent discoveries in this area of study, I believe this ban is in
violation of NAMHSA's own bylaws.

I'll be the first to admit here that I'm a giant paleontology geek with a focus on
equid evolution. Seriously, I read books on this stuff FOR FUN. And this stuff
is seriously obscure, even for paleontologists. That said, I don't want to get
too drilled down into the science-y bits and bore you all to tears. Instead,
I'm going to focus on just the terminology.

According to NAMHSA bylaws, Article III, Section 2b:

"Show must inform entrants that first- and second-place equids in its open
classes qualify for the NAN."

Equids is the crucial word here and it means anything in the family Equidae aka
"the Horse Family." Everything in that family is allowed to enter a NAN
qualifying class, earn a NAN card, and enter our national show.

Another important thing to note here is that the original animal commonly known
"Eohippus" is really called "Hyracotherium." Hyracotherium belongs to a family
of animals known as "Palaeotheriidae," who fall just outside of the horse family
tree. Think of it as a shrubbery at the base of that tree. Thus, Hyracotherium
is not an equid and cannot show at NAN. I have no problem with that decision as
that is just good science.

However, in the last few years, horse archeologists realized that all the
fossils they were calling Hyracotherium were actually several species. To avoid
future confusion, they renamed several of them. They even decided to formally
name one of them Eohippus (it's a cool sounding names, so why not?) Some of
these new species stayed in the same almost-but-not-quite-a-horse family shrub.
Some, including our newly renamed Eohippus, were moved into the horse family.

You all can read more about this change here (third paragraph):

For this reason, I would like to request that we bring Eohippus back into the
show ring in order to be compliant with NAMHSA's bylaws. Thank you for your
time and for reading this stuff all the way to the end.


Stockstill Stables said...

I have never been to a NAMHSA show nor ever even to a live show for that matter. But THAT is a lovely model. I would love to know more about it.
I also love paleontology as well as an paleoanthropology and paleoarchelogy. My husband laughs at me now for reading a very heavy paleoarcheology book for fun. Seriously this thing reads like a textbook for some advance college course.

Laura Skillern said...

The model above is the original Tessa-Gail, a sculpture I did in 2005...I think? It's been a few years! She is still with my caster as they squeeze out a few more copies before the mold breaks.

Unknown said...

OH The Tessa Gail! How I Loved her and yes it was 2005 I believe. You had her at Lonestar Live that year when we first met! Lauren, i am so glad you are doing this petition! You are completely correct and have the proof to back it up. I dont understand why it was banned in the first place. Maybe some people just dont like good competition. I for one will sign that petition! Good work girl!

Laura Skillern said...

@Amber - my understanding of the situation is the then president of NAN just decided they were no longer allowed and ignored my arguments against. I was told the board considered them "fantasy animals" and thus were not eligible to show. I was told they were offensive. I was Eohippus is not an equid so it doesn't count.

It's been a frustrating process.

If y'all want to see these guys in the ring again, please drop a nice note to the current President and current VP for NAMHSA:

You can also right your individual region reps. I know I will. :)

Natalie said...

I can't wait to get my TG!! She's oh so cute and I love her Darwininess that she brings to the hobby!

talkingMongo0se said...

I think I love your blog. And this post sealed it. Yay for early equid ancestors!