I know every human being is made up of complex parts and are all unique but I have always wondered what other creature that shares similar features to a human being. Whenever I think so, a picture of a monkey pops in mind, no pun intended. But I was fascinated to know from a new study that among the animals, horses do have facial expressions similar to us. Yes, horses are closer to us than we thought.
Studies have shown that despite the fact that human proportions do not match up to that of a horse, like example, horses have four legs and humans have two. They also have larger bone structures than we have but horses and human skeleton are anatomically quite similar. It is even fascinating to know that while we have a total of 206 bones in our bodies, horses have 205.
Through thorough anatomical investigation and further research done by the University of Sussex, researchers were able to discover that the muscles that aid in lip and eye movements of a horse are similar to that of the facial muscles used by a human as well. Just when I thought that I looked closely to a monkey, horses were in fact the ones that are closer to us than we thought.
Research that was done by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also concluded that a horse's DNA also has a similarity to that of a human. Even the genetic diseases experienced by a horse resemble genetic diseases in humans.
What is good about this discovery is that while researchers find means to cure human diseases, it might also be applicable to a horse and vice versa.
The University of Sussex conducted research that shows horses use facial muscles similar to what human uses when we do different facial expressions. These muscles are those that are beneath the nostrils, eyes and lips. The said University found out that there are a number of action units in the horses’ face and this discovery came from collaborating with other experts from University of Portsmouth and Duquesne University.
Interestingly, facial expressions are vital for horses. Just like we are capable of communicating through the use of our facial expressions, so are horses. You might be wondering how horses share almost the same facial expression with humans when there’s a great difference of facial structure. And through their facial expressions, we will have an idea how they are emotionally. We just have to pay attention.
I grew up understanding the fact that horses are animals that are dominantly visual. Compared to cats and dogs, horses are better in terms of visual acuity. But little did we know, their facial movements that seem to look complex are similar to what we do.
The next time I see a horse, I will never look at it the same way again. Indeed, horses are closer to us than we thought.
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