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Camels - Taxonomy

There are two species within the family of Camelidae: Arabian Camels (Camelus dromedaries) and Bactrian Camels (Camelus bactrianus). Camels are ungulates. A Bactrian Camel has two humps and a Dromedary Camel has one visible hump.
 Camels - Pictures
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Calamunnda Camel Farm and Tearooms © 2000
Calamunnda Camels Pty Ltd ABN 74 060 014 124

Camels - History

All of the Camelids evolved in North America in the Eocene epoch and migrated across the Bering Strait land bridge to Asia. In North America Camels died out about 3000 B.C. It's thought that the Dromedary Camel may have evolved from the Bactrian Camel.

The Bactrian Camel was domesticated about 4,500 years ago in Bactria (what is presently Turcmenia and Iran) as draft and pack animals. Later their use spread into China where Camels became the main source of transportation on the Silk Road. Domesticated Bactrians were found in southern Russia by 1700-1200 B.C. As pack animals Bactrian Camels are unsurpassed. They can carry 170-270 kg at a rate of 4 kmph for several days.

 Camels - Pictures
Courtesy of
Calamunnda Camel Farm and Tearooms © 2000
Calamunnda Camels Pty Ltd ABN 74 060 014 124
Dromedary Camels were domesticated earlier than the Bactrians. Dromedaries were first associated with nomadic Semitic cultures and didn't become popular until the rise of the Arabian culture. The Dromedary Camel has been always used as a saddle animal, covering more than 100 miles a day. The term "dromedary" is derived from the Greek "road."

Camels - Habitat and Range

The distribution of Bacrian Camels is southwestern Mongolia and northwestern China. They inhabit deserts and steppes in the Gobi desert. Their denseness in the wild is 5 animals per 100 square kilometers. There exist fewer than 1000 Bactrian Camels nowadays.

Dromedary Camels are found in arid regions from northwestern India to the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia, across the African deserts. They were successfully introduced into Australia. In Africa and Arabia Dromedary Camels are not considered wild anymore; they are domesticated, and under the control of herders.

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