Equus capensis Broom, 1909

Cape zebra, Cape horse, Giant Cape horse



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene-Holocene





Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Broom, R. (1909). On evidence of a large horse recently extinct in South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 7: 281-282.


Other references:

Badenhorst, S., Plug, I., 2012. The faunal remains from the Middle Stone Age levels of Bushman Rock Shelter in South Africa. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 67: 16-31.

Shaw Badenhorst Frank Senegas Dominique Gommery Stephany Potze Lazarus Kgasi J. Francis Thackeray. (2011). Pleistocene faunal remains from Garage Ravine Cave on Bolt's Farm in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History 1(1): 33-40. [Abstract]

Berger, Lee R. et al. (2003). Preliminary results of excavations at the newly investigated Coopers D deposit, Gauteng, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 99: 276-278.

Broom, R. (1913). Note on Equus capensis Broom. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History [b]32(25)[/b]: 437-439.

Broom, R. and Le Riche, H. (1937). The dentition of Equus capensis. South African Journal of Science 33(3): 769-770.

Churcher, C. S. (1986). The extinct Cape zebra.. Sagittarius 1(4): 4-5.

Churcher, C. S. (2006). Distribution and history of the Cape zebra (Equus capensis) in the Quarternary of Africa. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 61(2): 89-95. [Abstract]

Churcher, C.S., Kleindienst, M.R., Schwarcz, H.P., 1999. Faunal remains from a Middle Pleistocene lacustrine marl in Dakleh Oasis, Egypt: paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 154, 301–312.

Churcher, C.S., Richardson, M.L., 1978. Equidae. In: Maglio, V.J., Cooke, H.B.S. (Eds.), Evolution of African Mammals. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp. 379-422.

Churchill, S. E. et al. (2000). Erfkroon: a new Florisian fossil locality from fluvial contexts in the western Free State, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 96: 161-163.

Cirilli, Omar, Machado, H., Arroyo-Cabrales, J., Barrón-Ortiz, C. I., Davis, E., Jass, C. N., Jukar, A. M., Landry, Z., Marín-Leyva, A. H., Pandolfi, L., Pushkina, D., Rook, L., Saarinen, J., Scott, E., Semprebon, G., Strani, F., Villavicencio, N. A., Kaya, F. and Bernor, R. L. (2022). Evolution of the Family Equidae, Subfamily Equinae, in North, Central and South America, Eurasia and Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene. Biology 11(9): 1258.

Codron, D., Brink, J.S., Rossouw, L., Clasuss, M., 2008. The evolution of ecological specialization in southern African ungulates: competition or physical environmental turnover. Oikos 117: 334-353.

Cooke, H. B. S. (1939). On a collection of fossil mammalian remains from the vaal river gravels at Pniel. South African Journal of Science 36(12): 412-416.

Cruz-Uribe, K., 1983. The mammalian fauna from Redcliff Cave, Zimbabwe. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 38: 7-16.

Eisenmann, Vera. (2000). Equus capensis (Mammalia, Perissodactyla) from Elandsfontein Palaeont. Afr. 36: 91-96.

Eisenmann, V., 2003. Gigantic horses. In: Petculescu, A., Stiuca, E. (Eds.), Advances in Vertebrate Paleontology “Hen to Panta”. Romanian Academy, Bucharest, pp. 31-40.

Eisenmann, Vera, Helmer, Daniel and Segui, Maria Sañia. (2002). The big Equus from the Geometric Kebaran of Umm El Tlel, Syria: Equus valeriani, Equus capensis, or Equus caballus? Proceedings of the fifth international symposium on the archaeozoology of southwestern Asia and adjacent areas, ARC-publicaties 62: 62-73.

Faith, J.T., 2012. Paleozoological insights into management options for a threatened mammal: southern Africa's Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra). Divers. Distrib. 18, 438–447.

Faith, J.T., 2013. Taphonomic and paleoecological change in the large mammal sequence from Boomplaas Cave, Western Cape, South Africa. J. Hum. Evol. 65, 715–730.

Faith, J. Tyler. (2014). Late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal extinctions on continental Africa. Earth-Science Reviews 128: 105-121.

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Helm, Charles W., Carr, Andrew S. et al. (2023). Tracking the extinct giant Cape zebra (Equus capensis) on the Cape south coast of South Africa. Quaternary Research.

Helm, Charles W., Cawthra HC, De Vynck JC, Lockley MG, McCrea RT, Venter J. (2019). The Pleistocene fauna of the Cape south coast revealed through ichnology at two localities. S. Afr. J. Sci. 115(1-2): 5135.

Henshilwood, C.S., Sealy, J.C., Yates, R., Cruz-Uribe, K., Goldberg, P., Grine, F.E., Klein, R.G., Poggenpoel, C., Van Niekerk, K.L. & Watts, I. 2001. Blombos Cave, southern Cape, South Africa: preliminary report on the 1992–1999 excavations of the Middle Stone Age levels. Journal of Archaeological Science 28: 421-448.

Kaiser, Thomas M. and Franz-Odendaal, Tamara A. (2004). Mixed-feeding Equus species from the Middle Pleistocene of South Africa. Quaternary Research 62: 316-323.

Klein, Richard G. (1977). The mammalian fauna from the Middle and Later Stone Age (Later Pleistocene) levels of Border Cave, Natal Province, South Africa. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 34: 14-27.

Klein, Richard G. (1978). A preliminary report on the larger mammals from the Boomplaas stone age cave site, Cango Valley, Oudtshoorn District, South Africa. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 33: 66-75.

Klein, Richard G. (1980). Environmental and ecological implications of large mammals from Upper Pleistocene and Holocene sites in southern Africa. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 81, 223-283.

Klein, Richard G. (1983). Palaeoenvironmental implications of Quaternary large mammals in the fynbos region. In: Deacon, H.J., Hendey, Q.B., Lambrechts, J.J.N. (Eds.), Fynbos Palaeoecology: A Preliminary Synthesis, South African National Scientific Programmes Report No 75. Mills Litho, Cape Town, pp. 116-138.

Klein, Richard G. and Cruz-Uribe, Kathryn. (1987). Large mammal and tortoise bones from Eland's Bay Cave and nearby sites, Western Cape Province, South Africa. In: Parkington, J.E., Hall, M. (Eds.), Papers in the Prehistory of the Western Cape, South Africa. BAR International Series, 322, pp. 350-372.

Klein, Richard G. and Cruz-Uribe, Kathryn. (2000). Middle and Later Stone Age large mammal and tortoise remains from Die Kelders Cave 1, Western Cape Province, South Africa. J. Hum. Evol. 38: 169-195.

Klein, Richard G. and Cruz-Uribe, Kathryn. (2016). Large mammal and tortoise bones from Elands Bay Cave (South Africa): implications for Later Stone Age environment and ecology. Southern African Humanities 29: 259-282.

Klein, Richard G., Cruz-Uribe, Kathryn, Beaumont, P.B., 1991. Environmental, ecological, and paleoanthropological implications of the Late Pleistocene mammalian fauna from Equus Cave, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Quatern. Res. 36: 94-119.

Lacruz, R. S. et al. (2002). Palaeontology and geological context of a Middle Pleistocene faunal assemblage from the Gladysvale Cave, South Africa. Palaeont. afr. 38: 99-114.

Lauer, Daniel A. et al. (2023). Disruption of trait-environment relationships in African megafauna occurred in the middle Pleistocene. Nature Communications 14: 4016.

Lee-Thorp, J.A., Beaumont, P.B., 1995. Vegetation and seasonality shifts during the late Quaternary deduced from 13C/12C ratios of grazers at Equus Cave, South Africa. Quatern. Res. 43, 426–432.

Luyt, J., Lee-Thorp, J. A. and Avery, G. (2000). New light on Middle Pleistocene west coast environments from Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 96: 399-403.

Marom, Nimrod et al. (2022). The Late Middle Pleistocene mammalian fauna of Oumm Qatafa Cave, Judean Desert: taxonomy, taphonomy and palaeoenvironment. Journal of Quaternary Science. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.3414

Oksanen, O., Žliobaitė, I., Saarinen, J., Lawing, A. M. & Fortelius, M. (2019). A Humboldtian approach to life and climate of the geological past: Estimating palaeotemperature from dental traits of mammalian communities. Journal of Biogeography 46, 1770-1776.

Orlando, L., Metcalf, J.L., Alberdi, M.T., Telles-Antunes, M., Bonjean, D., Otte, M., Martin, F., Eisenmann, V., Mashkour, M., Morello, F., Prado, J.L., Salas-Gismondi, R., Shockey, B.J., Wrinn, P.J., Vasilev, S.K., Ovodov, N.D., Cherry, M.I., Hopwood, B., Male, D., Austin, J.J., Hänni, C., Cooper, A., 2009. Revising the recent evolutionary history of equids using ancient DNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 106, 21754-21759.

Plug, Ina. (2004). Resource exploitation: animal use during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. South African Journal of Science 100(3-4): 151-158.

Plug, I., Engela, R., 1992. The macrofaunal remains from recent excavations at Rose Cottage Cave, Orange Free State. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 47: 16-25.

Plug, Ina and Badenhorst, Shaw. (2001). The Distribution of Macrornammals in Southern Africa Over the Past 30 000 Years: as reflected in animal remains from archaeological sites. Transvaal Museum Monographs No. 12. Pretoria: Transvaal Museum. [title pagefront matter, pp. 1-13, pp. 14-21, pp. 22-30 pp. 31-88, pp. 89-112, pp. 113-206, pp. 207-228references]

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Schweitzer, F.R., Wilson, M.L., 1982. Byneskranskop 1, a late Quaternary living site in the southern Cape Province, South Africa. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 88: 1-203.

Shapiro, M. M. J. (1943). Fossil mammalian remains from rankies Kroonsted district, O.F.S. South African Journal of Science 39(1): 176-181.

Thackeray, A.I., Thackeray, J.F., Beaumont, P.B., Vogel, J.C., 1981. Dated rock engravings from Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Science 214: 64-67.

Thackeray, John Francis. (1979). An analysis of faunal remains from archaeological sites in southern south west Africa (Namibia). S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 34: 18-33.

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Wells, L. H. (1964). The Vaal River 'Younger Gravels' faunal assemblage: A revised list. South African Journal of Science 60(3): 91-93.


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