The History of Camels

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by LE. Berry

The History of Camels

Obscure Fact: Camels have canine-like Tusks



Photo byAlexas_Fotos onUnsplash


Camels live in inverse locations to where they used to be, first in North America, (the middle Eocene) 45 million years ago; before the ice age. By 35 million years ago, camelids such as Poebrotherium had lost the two lateral toes and were about the size of a modern goat.


Two to three million years ago, representatives from North American went to Asia through the Isthmus of Panama, leaving behind camels. There was a high arctic camel from this time period documented in the far northern reaches of Canada.


They remained in North American until the recent geological past and then disappeared. This is thought to be the result of hunting, habitat alterations of early settlers, possible changing environmental conditions or a combination of factors. 


Camels are members of the Camelidae family, the only currently living member of the suborder Tylopoda. The extant (still living) members, of this group, are dromedary camels, Bactrian camels, wild Bactrian camels, llamas, alpacas, vicunas, and guanacos. 


They are even-toed ungulates (chew their cud), classified in the order Cetartiodactyla, along with pigs, whales, deer, cattle, antelope, and others. 


Camelids are large, herbivorous animals with slender necks and long legs. They differ from rudiments(like cattle), by their teeth. They have tusk-like premolars, canine-like tusks along with molars.


Their musculature of the hind limbs differs from ungulates in that their legs are attached only at the top of the thigh, making it possible for them to kneel down. 


They have three-chambered stomachs rather than four. They have split lips that they can use independently.


Their red blood cells are elliptical, they have a unique type of antibodies, which lack the light chain, in addition to normal antibodies found in other mammals. Their heavy-chain antibodies are being used to develop single-domain antibodies with potential pharmaceutical applications. 



Photograph: Wikipedia.


They don’t have hooves but two-toed feet (tylopoda, Greek for padded foot). In South America, they are adapted to steep and rocky terrain. Their pads and toes can maintain grip. Fossil camelids were hooved.


Camelids are similar behaviorally, including their gait with both legs on the same side moved simultaneously. They walk with a swaying motion.


Three Afro-Asian camels have adapted to harsh, near-waterless environments. Bactrian camels are even able to drink brackish water, some herds living in nuclear test areas. 


Fossil camelids of North America show a wider variety.  Titanotylopus 3.5 m as compared with 2 ms for the largest modern camelid. Other extinct camelids are a small gazelle-like (Stenomylu) and very tall giraffe-like camelids Aepycamelus and Oxydactylus. 


There is an interesting debate about whether camels were actually used domestically in Biblical times. What fossils are available now show they were used in the 2nd millennium B.C. The indentation on the bones showed they carried packs. It is expected that more fossils will be found in different areas in the future.



Shirley Langton 2020


Submitted: November 23, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Shirley M. Langton. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


LE. Berry

Interesting piece Shirley...

Tue, November 24th, 2020 10:57pm


Thanks again. Shirley

Tue, November 24th, 2020 3:14pm

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