Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Evolution of horses

  1. Nov 20, 2015 #1
    Would you consider the foot of the modern horse to be analogous or homologous to the hand of a human?

    I'm confused because I'm not quite sure. I don't really see how they look similar or if they are even used for a similar purpose.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    Homologous structures descend from a common ancestor evolutionarily. They do necessarily share the same function as functions can drift over evolutionary time. For example, the pectoral fins of dolphins are homologous to the arms of other mammals.

    Analogous structures are structures from different organisms that have similar shapes or functions but do not share a common evolutionary origin. Rather they arose independently and are the result of convergent evolution. An example here would be the wings of bats vs the wings of birds.

    For more information see: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_09
  4. Nov 20, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    The two share similar structures, however, the horse's foot is used more for load bearing whereas the human hand has developed for manipulating objects.
    Based on Ygggdrasil's comment, you should be able to determine which of the two words better describes the relationship.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook