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Organic evolution, a text book

Lull, Richard Swann1917





Horses basically run on their finger and toenails. Hard to imagine that from the perspective of a human-like body type.


'In general there is in a cursorial form a recognizable "speed index," as indicated by the ratio of length to diameter in the limb-bones; and not only does this ratio hold for each of the several bones concerned in locomotion, but it may also be seen in the skull, vertebrae, ribs, and other skeletal elements as well. The hoof which terminates the single remaining digit is a marvel of perfection; strong, of the right degree of growth to offset a normal wear, and with the shock-absorbing cushion or frog to guard the system from the great concussion produced by the impact of the foot with the ground at high speed. The perfection of the foot and limb to withstand such a shock is illustrated by the jumper "Heatherbloom," a horse which held a record of 8 feet 2 inches, in which the entire weight of the animal, coming from such a height, was repeatedly received on what is equivalent to the middle finger ol the two hands. That the limit of such evolution has practically been reached, however, is evident from the fact that many a fine horse has been destroyed merely because a rutted road caused the fracture of a single bone strained beyond endurance. Bone is a wonderfully efficient material and it is utilized in what is mechanically the very best possible way to produce results, but with a very close margin of safety. It is this last fact that makes further speed adaptation for so large an animal virtually impossible.' - Organic Evolution