Are Zebras Horses?

Zebra or Horse.jpgZebras look a lot like horses, but are zebras horses? This is a question many people who are intrigued about zoology and exotic animals may ask. The answer to this question has long since been established by biologists based on careful research into these amazing creatures.

Relationship Between Zebras & Horses

To call zebras little more than African horses with black stripes might be a bit of an oversimplification. However, such a description is not too far off from reality.

Both zebras and horses are equidae, which is another name for the horse family. Within this family, we see a collective of hoofed mammals.

Based on what we currently know about evolutionary biology, horses may have originated in the southeastern region of Europe. Zebras originated in the continent of Africa and fossil records prove this to be true. Horses were domesticated circa 4,000 B.C. Zebras, of course, are still creatures of the wild.

The Horse Family

Zebras may all be part of the horse family, but not all of these creatures are horses. A donkey is an equid, but it is not a horse. A zebra is neither a horse nor a donkey, but all are equids. Perhaps the simplest way to describe the relationship would be to call them cousins of one another.

That said, zebras are actually closer to donkeys and mules than they are to horses. All of these hoofed mammals do live under the same house, so to speak. The zebra is of the genus Equus and the subgenus Hippotigris.

The Effects of Crossbreeding

It is possible to breed a zebra with a horse. The resultant hybrid, however, would not be able to reproduce due to differences in the chromosomes. This is why we have not seen these new creatures emerge even though horses were long since imported to Africa many, many centuries ago.