Zebra, (Equus quagga) taken at the Melbourne Zoo 2007
The name “zebra” comes from the Old Portuguese word zevra which means “wild ass”.
There are three species of zebra: the Plains Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra and the Mountain Zebra. The Plains zebra and the Mountain Zebra belong to the subgenus Hippotigris, but Grevy’s zebra is the sole species of subgenus Dolichohippus.
Zebras were the second lineage to diverge from the earliest proto-horses, after the asses, around 4 million years ago. Grevy’s zebra is believed to have been the first zebra species to emerge. Fossils of an ancient equid were discovered in the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Hagerman, Idaho. It was named the Hagerman horse with a scientific name of Equus simplicidens. It is believed to have been similar to the Grevy’s zebra. The animals had stocky zebra-like bodies and short, narrow, donkey-like skulls.1 Grevy’s zebra also has a donkey-like skull. The Hagerman horse is also called the American zebra or Hagerman zebra.