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A camel is an
even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, absent, vestigial, or pointing poster ...
in the genus ''Camelus'' that bears distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. Camels have long been domesticated and, as
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
, they provide food (
milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

milk
and meat) and textiles (fiber and felt from
hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Phy ...
). Camels are
working animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secu ...
s especially suited to their desert habitat and are a vital means of transport for passengers and cargo. There are three surviving species of camel. The one-humped
dromedary The dromedary (''Camelus dromedarius'') ( or ), also called the Arabian camel, is a large even-toed ungulate, of the genus '' Camelus'', with one hump on its back. It is the tallest of the three species of camel; adult males stand at the shou ...

dromedary
makes up 94% of the world's camel population, and the two-humped
Bactrian camel The Bactrian camel (''Camelus bactrianus''), also known as the Mongolian camel or domestic Bactrian camel, is a large even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on ...

Bactrian camel
makes up 6%. The
Wild Bactrian camel The wild Bactrian camel (''Camelus ferus'') is a critically endangered species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical proces ...
is a separate species and is now critically endangered. The word ''camel'' is also used informally in a wider sense, where the more correct term is "camelid", to include all seven species of the family Camelidae: the true camels (the above three species), along with the "New World" camelids: the
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a List of meat animals, meat and pack animal by Inca empire, Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Llamas are social animals and live with othe ...

llama
, the
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria ...

alpaca
, the
guanaco The guanaco (''Lama guanicoe'') is a native to , closely related to the . Its name comes from the word ''huanaco'' (modern spelling ''wanaku''). Young guanacos are called ''chulengos''. Guanacos are one of two wild South American camelids, the ...

guanaco
, and the
vicuña The vicuña (''Lama vicugna'') or vicuna (both , very rarely spelled ''vicugna'', its former genus name) is one of the two wild South American camelids, which live in the high alpine tundra, alpine areas of the Andes, the other being the guana ...

vicuña
. The word itself is derived via la, camelus and grc-gre, κάμηλος (''kamēlos'') from Hebrew, Arabic or Phoenician: ''gāmāl''.


Taxonomy


Extant species

3 species are extant:


Biology

The average
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and other demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancien ...

life expectancy
of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A full-grown adult dromedary camel stands at the shoulder and at the hump. Bactrian camels can be a foot taller. Camels can run at up to in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to . Bactrian camels weigh and dromedaries . The widening toes on a camel's hoof provide supplemental grip for varying soil sediments. The male dromedary camel has an organ called a dulla in its throat, a large, inflatable sac he extrudes from his mouth when in rut to assert dominance and attract females. It resembles a long, swollen, pink tongue hanging out of the side of its mouth. Camels mate by having both male and female sitting on the ground, with the male mounting from behind. The male usually ejaculates three or four times within a single mating session. Camelids are the only ungulates to mate in a sitting position.


Ecological and behavioral adaptations

Camels do not directly store water in their humps; they are reservoirs of fatty tissue. When this tissue is metabolized, it yields more than one gram of water for every gram of fat processed. This fat metabolization, while releasing energy, causes water to evaporate from the lungs during
respiration Respiration may refer to: Biology * Cellular respiration, the process in which nutrients are converted into useful energy in a cell ** Anaerobic respiration, cellular respiration without oxygen ** Maintenance respiration, the amount of cellular ...

respiration
(as oxygen is required for the metabolic process): overall, there is a net decrease in water. Camels have a series of physiological adaptations that allow them to withstand long periods of time without any external source of water. The dromedary camel can drink as seldom as once every 10 days even under very hot conditions, and can lose up to 30% of its body mass due to dehydration. Unlike other mammals, camels'
red blood cell Red blood cells (RBCs), also referred to as red cells, red blood corpuscles (in humans or other animals not having nucleus in red blood cells), haematids, erythroid cells or erythrocytes (from Greek language, Greek ''erythros'' for "red" and ''k ...

red blood cell
s are oval rather than circular in shape. This facilitates the flow of red blood cells during dehydration and makes them better at withstanding high
osmotic Osmosis (, ) is the spontaneous net movement or of molecules through a from a region of high (region of lower concentration) to a region of low water potential (region of higher solute concentration), in the direction that tends to equali ...

osmotic
variation without rupturing when drinking large amounts of water: a camel can drink of water in three minutes. Camels are able to withstand changes in
body temperature Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, properties of life. It is a sy ...
and water consumption that would kill most other mammals. Their temperature ranges from at dawn and steadily increases to by sunset, before they cool off at night again. In general, to compare between camels and the other livestock, camels lose only 1.3 liters of fluid intake every day while the other livestock lose 20 to 40 liters per day (Breulmann, et al., 2007). Maintaining the brain temperature within certain limits is critical for animals; to assist this, camels have a
rete mirabile A rete mirabile (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
, a complex of arteries and veins lying very close to each other which utilizes countercurrent blood flow to cool blood flowing to the brain. Inside Nature's Giants. Channel 4 (UK) documentary. Transmitted 30 August 2011 Camels rarely sweat, even when ambient temperatures reach . Any sweat that does occur evaporates at the skin level rather than at the surface of their coat; the
heat of vaporization The enthalpy of vaporization (symbol ), also known as the (latent) heat of vaporization or heat of evaporation, is the amount of energy (enthalpy Enthalpy , a property of a thermodynamic system, is the sum of the system's internal energy and ...
therefore comes from body heat rather than ambient heat. Camels can withstand losing 25% of their body weight to sweating, whereas most other mammals can withstand only about 12–14% dehydration before
cardiac failure Heart failure (HF), also known as congestive heart failure (CHF), (congestive) cardiac failure (CCF), and decompensatio cordis, is when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body tissues' needs for metabo ...
results from circulatory disturbance. When the camel exhales,
water vapor (99.9839 °C) , - , Boiling point The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure 280px, The ''pistol test tube'' experiment. The tube contains alcohol and is closed with a piece of cork. By heating th ...
becomes trapped in their
nostrils A nostril (or naris , plural ''nares'' ) is either of the two orifices of the nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for Respiration (physiology), respiration alongside ...
and is reabsorbed into the body as a means to conserve water. Camels eating green herbage can ingest sufficient moisture in milder conditions to maintain their bodies' hydrated state without the need for drinking. The camel's thick coat insulates it from the intense heat radiated from desert sand; a shorn camel must sweat 50% more to avoid overheating. During the summer the coat becomes lighter in color, reflecting light as well as helping avoid sunburn. The camel's long legs help by keeping its body farther from the ground, which can heat up to . Dromedaries have a pad of thick tissue over the
sternum The sternum or breastbone is a long flat bone located in the central part of the chest. It connects to the ribs via cartilage and forms the front of the rib cage, thus helping to protect the heart, human lung, lungs, and major blood vessels from in ...

sternum
called the ''pedestal''. When the animal lies down in a sternal recumbent position, the pedestal raises the body from the hot surface and allows cooling air to pass under the body. Camels' mouths have a thick leathery lining, allowing them to chew thorny desert plants. Long eyelashes and ear hairs, together with nostrils that can close, form a barrier against sand. If sand gets lodged in their eyes, they can dislodge it using their transparent third eyelid. The camels' gait and widened feet help them move without sinking into the sand. The
kidney The kidneys are two reddish-brown bean-shaped organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly categorized ...

kidney
s and
intestines The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, d ...
of a camel are very efficient at reabsorbing water. Camels' kidneys have a 1:4
cortex Cortex or cortical may refer to: Science Anatomy * Cortex (anatomy), the outermost or superficial layer of an organ * Cortex (hair), the middle layer of a strand of hair * Adrenal cortex, the portion of the adrenal gland that produces cortisol and ...
to . Thus, the medullary part of a camel's kidney occupies twice as much area as a cow's kidney. Secondly, renal corpuscles have a smaller diameter, which reduces surface area for filtration. These two major anatomical characteristics enable camels to conserve water and limit the volume of urine in extreme desert conditions.Rehan S and AS Qureshi, 2006. Microscopic evaluation of the heart, kidneys and adrenal glands of one-humped camel calves (Camelus dromedarius) using semi automated image analysis system. J Camel Pract Res. 13(2): 123 Camel urine comes out as a thick syrup, and camel faeces are so dry that they do not require drying when the
Bedouins The Bedouin, Beduin or Bedu (; , singular ; , singular ) are nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups inc ...
use them to fuel fires. The camel
immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism from diseases. It detects and responds to a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, as well as Tumor immunology, cancer cells and objects such ...
differs from those of other mammals. Normally, the Y-shaped
antibody An antibody (Ab), also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large, Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as pathogenic bacteria and Viral disease, viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique mo ...

antibody
molecules consist of two heavy (or long) chains along the length of the Y, and two light (or short) chains at each tip of the Y. Camels, in addition to these, also have antibodies made of only two heavy chains, a trait that makes them smaller and more durable. These "heavy-chain-only" antibodies, discovered in 1993, are thought to have developed 50 million years ago, after camelids split from ruminants and pigs.


Genetics

The
karyotype A karyotype is a preparation of the complete set of metaphase Metaphase () is a stage of mitosis In cell biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies ...

karyotype
s of different camelid species have been studied earlier by many groups, but no agreement on chromosome nomenclature of camelids has been reached. A 2007 study flow sorted camel chromosomes, building on the fact that camels have 37 pairs of chromosomes (2n=74), and found that the karyotype consisted of one
metacentric Metacentric may refer to: * Metacentric height, the distance between the center of gravity of a ship and its metacenter * Centromere#Metacentric, Metacentric centromere, the position of a centromere on a chromatid {{disambiguation ...
, three submetacentric, and 32 acrocentric autosomes. The Y is a small metacentric chromosome, while the is a large metacentric chromosome. The hybrid camel, a hybrid between Bactrian and dromedary camels, has one hump, though it has an indentation deep that divides the front from the back. The hybrid is at the shoulder and tall at the hump. It weighs an average of and can carry around , which is more than either the dromedary or Bactrian can. According to molecular data, the wild Bactrian camel (''C. ferus'') separated from the domestic Bactrian camel (''C. bactrianus'') about 1 million years ago. New World and Old World camelids diverged about 11 million years ago. In spite of this, these species can hybridize and produce viable offspring. The cama is a camel-llama hybrid bred by scientists to see how closely related the parent species are. Scientists collected semen from a camel via an artificial vagina and inseminated a llama after stimulating ovulation with
gonadotrophin Gonadotropins are glycoprotein hormone A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any member of a class of signaling molecules in multicellular organisms, that are transported to distant organs to regulate physiology and / ...
injections. The cama is halfway in size between a camel and a llama and lacks a hump. It has ears intermediate between those of camels and llamas, longer legs than the llama, and partially
cloven hooves A cloven hoof, cleft hoof, divided hoof or split hoof is a hoof A hoof ( or ), plural hooves ( or ) or hoofs , is the tip of a toe Toes are the digits (fingers) of the foot of a tetrapod. Animal Animals (also called Metazoa) ar ...
. Like the
mule A mule is the of a male (jack) and a female (). Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of s. Of the two between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a , which is the offspring of a female donkey () a ...

mule
, camas are sterile, despite both parents having the same number of chromosomes.


Evolution

The earliest known camel, called '' Protylopus'', lived in North America 40 to 50 million years ago (during the
Eocene The Eocene ( ) Epoch is a geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the ...
). It was about the size of a rabbit and lived in the open woodlands of what is now
South Dakota South Dakota () (Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dako ...

South Dakota
. By 35 million years ago, the '''' was the size of a goat and had many more traits similar to camels and llamas. The hoofed '''', which walked on the tips of its toes, also existed around this time, and the long-necked ''
Aepycamelus ''Aepycamelus'', the long-necked camel, is an extinct genus of camelids that lived during the Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first Epoch (geology), geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about (Ma). The Miocene was named by Scott ...
'' evolved in the
Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first geological epoch In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age (geology), age but shorter than a period (geology), period. The current epoch is the Holocene Epoch of ...
. An early relative of extant Old World camels, '''', existed in the upper Miocene to Middle Pleistocene. Around 3–5 million years ago, the North American Camelidae spread to South America as part of the
Great American Interchange The Great American Biotic Interchange (commonly abbreviated as GABI), also known as the Great American Interchange or Great American Faunal Interchange, was an important late Cenozoic The Cenozoic ( ; ) is Earth's current geological era An er ...
via the newly formed
Isthmus of Panama The Isthmus of Panama ( es, Istmo de Panamá), also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien (), is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Ka ...
, where they gave rise to
guanacos The guanaco (''Lama guanicoe'') is a camelid native to South America, closely related to the llama. Its name comes from the Quechua language, Quechua word ''huanaco'' (modern spelling ''wanaku''). Young guanacos are called ''chulengos''. Guanaco ...

guanacos
and related animals, and to Asia via the
Bering land bridge Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River The Lena (russian: link=no, Ле́на, ; evn, Елюенэ, ''Eljune''; sah, Өлүөнэ, ''Ölüöne''; bua, Зүлхэ, ''Zülkhe''; mn, З ...
. Surprising finds of fossil '''' on
Ellesmere Island Ellesmere Island (Inuktitut: ''Umingmak Nuna'', meaning "land of muskoxen"; french: Île d'Ellesmere) is Canada's northernmost and third largest island, and the tenth largest in the world. It comprises an area of , slightly smaller than Great ...

Ellesmere Island
beginning in 2006 in the high Canadian Arctic suggest that the extant Old World camels may descend from a larger, boreal browser whose hump may have evolved as an adaptation in a cold climate. This creature is estimated to have stood around nine feet (2.7 metres) tall. The Bactrian camel diverged from the dromedary about 1 million years ago, according to the fossil record. The last camel native to North America was '''', which vanished along with
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

horse
s,
short-faced bear The short-faced bear (''Arctodus'' sp.) is an extinct bear genus that inhabited North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as ...
s,
mammoth A mammoth is any species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organ ...

mammoth
s and
mastodon A mastodon ( Greek: μαστός "breast" and ὀδούς, "tooth") is any proboscidean belonging to the extinct genus ''Mammut'' (family Mammutidae) that inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first ...

mastodon
s,
ground sloth Ground sloths are a diverse group of extinct sloths, in the mammalian superorder Xenarthra. The term is used as a reference for all extinct sloths because of the large size of the earliest forms discovered, as opposed to existing tree sloths. The ...

ground sloth
s,
sabertooth cat A saber-toothed cat (alternatively spelled sabre-toothed cat) is any member of various extinct groups of Predation, predatory mammals that are characterized by long, curved saber-shaped canine teeth which protruded from the mouth when closed. Th ...
s, and many other megafauna, coinciding with the migration of humans from Asia. File:Stenomylus.jpg, alt=A drawing of two early camels, illustration File:NMNH-USNMV16601Stenomylus.tif, skeleton File:NMNH-USNMV15917Poebrotherium.jpg, skeleton File:NMNH-USNM244271 2.jpg, Procamelus skull


Domestication

Like
horses The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a Domestication, domesticated odd-toed ungulate, one-toed ungulate, hoofed mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two Extant taxon, extant subspecies of wild horse, ''Equus ferus ...

horses
before their extinction in their continent of origin, camels spread across
Beringia Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River The Lena (russian: link=no, Ле́на, ; evn, Елюенэ, ''Eljune''; sah, Өлүөнэ, ''Ölüöne''; bua, Зүлхэ, ''Zülkhe''; mn, З ...
, moving in the opposite direction from the Asian immigration to America. They survived in the Old World, and eventually humans domesticated them and spread them globally. Along with many other megafauna in North America, the original wild camels were wiped out during the spread of the first
indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the fo ...
from Asia into North America, 10 to 12,000 years ago; although fossils have never been associated with definitive evidence of hunting. Most camels surviving today are domesticated. Although
feral A feral animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms ...
populations exist in Australia, India and Kazakhstan, wild camels survive only in the
wild Bactrian camel The wild Bactrian camel (''Camelus ferus'') is a critically endangered species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical proces ...
population of the
Gobi Desert The Gobi Desert () is a large desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali">Sand dunes in the Rub' al ...

Gobi Desert
. Humans may have first domesticated dromedaries in Somalia and southern Arabia around 3000 BCE, and Bactrian camels in
central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

central Asia
around 2500 BCE, as at
Shahr-e Sukhteh Shahr-e Sukhteh ( fa, شهر سوخته, meaning " heBurnt City"), also spelled as ''Shahr-e Sūkhté'' and ''Shahr-i Sōkhta'', is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that wa ...
(also known as the Burnt City),
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. Martin Heide's 2010 work on the domestication of the camel tentatively concludes that humans had domesticated the Bactrian camel by at least the middle of the third millennium somewhere east of the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, ''Kuh hā-ye Zāgros;'' Luri language, Luri: کویل زاگروس‎, ''Koyal Zagros;'' Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları;'' ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani ...
, with the practice then moving into Mesopotamia. Heide suggests that mentions of camels "in the patriarchal narratives may refer, at least in some places, to the Bactrian camel", while noting that the camel is not mentioned in relationship to
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
. Recent excavations in the
Timna Valley The Timna Valley (תִּמְנָע, ) is located in southern in the southwestern , approximately north of the and the city of . The area is rich in and has been since the 5th millennium . There is controversy whether the mines were active ...
by Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef discovered what may be the earliest domestic camel bones yet found in Israel or even outside the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
, dating to around 930 BC. This garnered considerable media coverage, as it is strong evidence that the stories of
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
,
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
,
Esau Esau ''Ēsaû''; la, Hesau, Esau; ar, عِيسَوْ ''‘Īsaw''; meaning "hairy"Easton, M. ''Illustrated Bible Dictionary'', (, , 2006, p. 236 or "rough".Mandel, D. ''The Ultimate Who's Who in the Bible'', (.), 2007, p. 175 is the elder son o ...

Esau
, and
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in th ...
were written after this time. The existence of camels in Mesopotamia—but not in the eastern Mediterranean lands—is not a new idea. The historian
Richard Bulliet Richard W. Bulliet (born 1940) is a professor of history at Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a Private university, private Ivy League research ...
did not think that the occasional mention of camels in the Bible meant that the domestic camels were common in the Holy Land at that time. The archaeologist William F. Albright, writing even earlier, saw camels in the Bible as an
anachronism An anachronism (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...
. The official report by Sapir-Hen and Ben-Joseph notes:
The introduction of the dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) as a pack animal to the
southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environ ...

southern Levant
... substantially facilitated trade across the vast deserts of Arabia, promoting both economic and social change (e.g., Kohler 1984; Borowski 1998: 112–116; Jasmin 2005). This ... has generated extensive discussion regarding the date of the earliest domestic camel in the southern Levant (and beyond) (e.g., Albright 1949: 207; Epstein 1971: 558–584; Bulliet 1975; Zarins 1989; Köhler-Rollefson 1993; Uerpmann and Uerpmann 2002; Jasmin 2005; 2006; Heide 2010; Rosen and Saidel 2010; Grigson 2012). Most scholars today agree that the dromedary was exploited as a pack animal sometime in the early
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
(not before the 12th century
and concludes:
Current data from copper smelting sites of the enable us to pinpoint the introduction of domestic camels to the southern Levant more precisely based on stratigraphic contexts associated with an extensive suite of radiocarbon dates. The data indicate that this event occurred not earlier than the last third of the 10th century and most probably during this time. The coincidence of this event with a major reorganization of the copper industry of the region—attributed to the results of the campaign of Pharaoh
Shoshenq I Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I (Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex a ...
—raises the possibility that the two were connected, and that camels were introduced as part of the efforts to improve efficiency by facilitating trade.
File:Camel cart.JPG, alt= A camel harnessed to a cart loaded with branches and twigs, A camel serving as a
draft animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to se ...
in
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
(2009) File:A camel with its rider playing kettle drums..jpg, alt= A painting of a man sitting on a camel and playing the drums, A camel in a ceremonial procession, its rider playing kettledrums,
Mughal Empire The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, ge ...
(c. 1840) File:Negev camel petroglyph.jpg, Petroglyph of a camel,
Negev The Negev or Negeb (; he, הַנֶּגֶב; ar, ٱلنَّقَب ') is a desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in th ...

Negev
, southern
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
(prior to c. 5300 BC) File:Bartholomeus Breenbergh 002.jpg, ''Joseph Sells Grain'' by Bartholomeus Breenbergh (1655), showing camel with rider at left


Textiles

Desert tribes and Mongolian nomads use camel hair for tents,
yurt A traditional yurt (from the ) or ger () is a portable, round tent covered with skins or and used as a dwelling by several distinct in the . The structure consists of an angled assembly or latticework of wood or for walls, a door frame, rib ...

yurt
s, clothing, bedding and accessories. Camels have outer guard hairs and soft inner down, and the fibers are sorted by color and age of the animal. The guard hairs can be felted for use as waterproof coats for the herdsmen, while the softer hair is used for premium goods. The fiber can be spun for use in weaving or made into yarns for hand knitting or crochet. Pure camel hair is recorded as being used for western garments from the 17th century onwards, and from the 19th century a mixture of wool and camel hair was used.


Military uses

By at least 1200 BC the first camel saddles had appeared, and
Bactrian camels The Bactrian camel (''Camelus bactrianus''), also known as the Mongolian camel or domestic Bactrian camel, is a large even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. It has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromed ...
could be ridden. The first saddle was positioned to the back of the camel, and control of the Bactrian camel was exercised by means of a stick. However, between 500 and 100 BC, Bactrian camels came into military use. New saddles, which were inflexible and bent, were put over the humps and divided the rider's weight over the animal. In the seventh century BC the military Arabian saddle evolved, which again improved the saddle design slightly. Military forces have used Camel cavalry, camel cavalries in wars throughout Africa, the Middle East, and into the modern-day Border Security Force (BSF) of India (though as of July 2012, the BSF planned the replacement of camels with all-terrain vehicle, ATVs). The first documented use of camel cavalries occurred in the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC. Armies have also used camels as freight animals instead of horses and mules. The East Roman Empire used Auxiliaries (Roman military), auxiliary forces known as ''dromedarii'', whom the Romans recruited in desert provinces. The camels were used mostly in combat because of their ability to scare off horses at close range (horses are afraid of the camels' scent), a quality famously employed by the Achaemenid Persians when fighting Lydia in the Battle of Thymbra (547 BC).


19th and 20th centuries

The United States Army established the U.S. Camel Corps, stationed in California, in the late 19th century. One may still see stables at the Benicia Arsenal in Benicia, California, where they nowadays serve as the Benicia Historical Museum. Though the experimental use of camels was seen as a success (John B. Floyd, Secretary of War in 1858, recommended that funds be allocated towards obtaining a thousand more camels), the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 saw the end of the Camel Corps: Texas became part of the Confederacy, and most of the camels were left to wander away into the desert. France created a ''méhariste'' camel corps in 1912 as part of the Army of Africa (France), Armée d'Afrique in the Sahara in order to exercise greater control over the camel-riding Tuareg and Arab insurgents, as previous efforts to defeat them on foot had failed. The Free French Camel Corps fought during World War II, and camel-mounted units remained in service until the end of French rule over Algeria in 1962. In 1916, the British created the Imperial Camel Corps. It was originally used to fight the Senussi, but was later used in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in World War I. The Imperial Camel Corps comprised infantrymen mounted on camels for movement across desert, though they dismounted at battle sites and fought on foot. After July 1918, the Corps began to become run down, receiving no new reinforcements, and was formally disbanded in 1919. In World War I, the British Army also created the Egyptian Camel Transport Corps, which consisted of a group of Egyptian camel drivers and their camels. The Corps supported British war operations in Sinai Peninsula, Sinai, Palestine, and Syria by transporting supplies to the troops. The Somaliland Camel Corps was created by colonial authorities in British Somaliland in 1912; it was disbanded in 1944. Bactrian camels were used by Romanian forces during World War II in the Caucasian region. At the same period the Soviet units operating around Astrakhan in 1942 adopted local camels as draft animals due to shortage of trucks and horses, and kept them even after moving out of the area. Despite severe losses, some of these camels came as far West as to Battle of Berlin, Berlin itself. The Bikaner Camel Corps of British India fought alongside the British Indian Army in World Wars I and II. The ''Tropas Nómadas'' (Nomad Troops) were an auxiliary regiment of Sahrawi people, Sahrawi tribesmen serving in the colonial army in Spanish Sahara (today Western Sahara). Operational from the 1930s until the end of the Spanish presence in the territory in 1975, the ''Tropas Nómadas'' were equipped with small arms and led by Spanish officers. The unit guarded outposts and sometimes conducted patrols on camelback.


Food uses


Dairy

Camel milk is a staple food of desert nomad tribes and is sometimes considered a meal itself; a nomad can live on only camel milk for almost a month. Camel milk can readily be made into yogurt, but can only be made into butter if it is soured first, churned, and a clarifying agent is then added. Until recently, camel milk could not be made into camel milk, camel cheese because rennet was unable to coagulate the milk proteins to allow the collection of curds. Developing less wasteful uses of the milk, the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO commissioned Professor J.P. Ramet of the École Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie et des Industries Alimentaires, who was able to produce curdling by the addition of calcium phosphate and vegetable rennet in the 1990s. The cheese produced from this process has low levels of cholesterol and is easy to digest, even for the lactose intolerant. Camel milk can also be made into ice cream.


Meat

They provide food in the form of meat and milk. Approximately 3.3 million camels and camelids are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide. A camel carcass can provide a substantial amount of meat. The male dromedary carcass can weigh , while the carcass of a male Bactrian can weigh up to . The carcass of a female dromedary weighs less than the male, ranging between . The brisket, ribs and loin are among the preferred parts, and the hump is considered a delicacy. The hump contains "white and sickly fat", which can be used to make the ''khli'' (preserved meat) of mutton, beef, or camel. On the other hand, camel milk and meat are rich in protein, vitamins, glycogen, and other nutrients making them essential in the diet of many people. From chemical composition to meat quality, the dromedary camel is the preferred breed for meat production. It does well even in arid areas due to its unusual physiological behaviors and characteristics, which include tolerance to extreme temperatures, radiation from the sun, water paucity, rugged landscape and low vegetation. Camel meat is reported to taste like coarse beef, but older camels can prove to be very tough, although camel meat becomes tenderer the more it is cooked. The Abu Dhabi Officers' Club serves a camel burger mixed with beef or lamb fat in order to improve the texture and taste. In Karachi, Pakistan, some restaurants prepare nihari from camel meat. Specialist camel butchers provide expert cuts, with the hump considered the most popular. Camel meat has been eaten for centuries. It has been recorded by Ancient Greece, ancient Greek writers as an available dish at banquets in ancient Persia, usually roasted whole. The Ancient Rome, Roman emperor Elagabalus, Heliogabalus enjoyed camel's heel. Camel meat is mainly eaten in certain regions, including Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, and other arid regions where alternative forms of protein may be limited or where camel meat has had a long cultural history. Camel blood is also consumable, as is the case among pastoralists in northern Kenya, where camel blood is drunk with milk and acts as a key source of iron, vitamin D, salts and minerals. A 2005 report issued jointly by the Saudi Ministry of Health (Saudi Arabia), Ministry of Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details four cases of human bubonic plague resulting from the ingestion of raw camel liver.


=Australia

= Camel meat is also occasionally found in Australian cuisine: for example, a camel lasagna is available in Alice Springs. Australia has exported camel meat, primarily to the Middle East but also to Europe and the US, for many years. The meat is very popular among African Australians, North African Australians, such as Somalis, and other Australians have also been buying it. The feral nature of the animals means they produce a different type of meat to farmed camels in other parts of the world, and it is sought after because it is disease-free, and a unique genetic group. Demand is outstripping supply, and governments are being urged not to cull the camels, but redirect the cost of the cull into developing the market. Australia has seven camel dairies, which produce milk, cheese and skincare products in addition to meat.


Religion


Islam

Camel meat is ''halal'' ( ar, حلال, 'allowed') for Islam, Muslims. However, according to some Islamic schools and branches, Islamic schools of thought, a state of impurity is brought on by the consumption of it. Consequently, these schools hold that Muslims must perform ''wudhu'' (ablution) before the next time they Salat, pray after eating camel meat. Also, some Islamic schools of thought consider it ''haram'' ( ar, حرام, 'forbidden') for a Muslim to perform ''Salat'' in places where camels lie, as it is said to be a dwelling place of the ''Devil (Islam), Shaytan'' ( ar, شيطان, 'Devil'). According to Abu Yusuf, the camel urine, urine of camel may be used for medical treatment if necessary, but according to Abū Ḥanīfah, the drinking of camel urine is discouraged. The Islamic texts contain several stories featuring camels. In the story of the people of Thamud, the Prophet Salih miraculously brings forth a ''She-Camel of God, naqat'' ( ar, ناقة, 'she-camel') out of a rock. After the Prophet Muhammad Hegira, migrated from Mecca to Medina, he allowed Qaswa, his she-camel to roam there; the location where the camel stopped to rest determined the location where he would build his house in Medina.


Judaism

According to Jewish tradition, camel meat and milk are not kosher. Camels possess only one of the two kosher foods, kosher criteria; although they Ruminant, chew their cud, they do not possess Cloven hoof, cloven hooves: "But these you shall not eat among those that bring up the cud and those that have a cloven hoof: the camel, because it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you."


Depictions in culture

File:Shadda (detail), Karabagh region, southwest Caucasus.jpeg, Shadda (cover,detail), Karabagh region, southwest Caucasus, early 19th century File:Vessel in the Form of a Recumbent Camel with Jugs, 2015.65.15.jpg, Vessel in the form of a recumbent camel with jugs, 250 BC – 224 AD, Brooklyn Museum File:Brooklyn Museum - Maru Ragini (Dhola and Maru riding on a Camel).jpg, ''Maru Ragini'' (''Dhola and Maru Riding on a Camel)'', c. 1750, Brooklyn Museum File:Brooklyn Museum - The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) - James Tissot - overall.jpg, ''The Magi Journeying'' (''Les rois mages en voyage'')—James Tissot, c. 1886, Brooklyn Museum


Distribution and numbers

There are around 14 million camels alive , with 90% being dromedaries. Dromedaries alive today are List of domesticated animals, domesticated animals (mostly living in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Maghreb, Middle East and South Asia). The Horn region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world, where the dromedaries constitute an Nomadic pastoralism, important part of local nomadic life. They provide nomadic people in Somalia and Ethiopia with milk, food, and transportation.Plain text version.
Around 700,000 dromedary camels are now Australian feral camel, feral in Australia, descended from those introduced as a method of transport in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This population is growing about 8% per year. Representatives of the Australian government have culled more than 100,000 of the animals in part because the camels use too much of the limited resources needed by sheep farmers. A small population of introduced camels, dromedaries and Bactrians, wandered through Southwestern United States after having been imported in the 19th century as part of the U.S. Camel Corps experiment. When the project ended, they were used as draft animals in mines and escaped or were released. Twenty-five U.S. camels were bought and exported to Canada during the Cariboo Gold Rush. The Bactrian camel is, , reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, most of which are domesticated. The
Wild Bactrian camel The wild Bactrian camel (''Camelus ferus'') is a critically endangered species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical proces ...
is a separate species and is the only truly wild (as opposed to feral) camel in the world. The wild camels are critically endangered and number approximately 1400, inhabiting the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in China and Mongolia.


See also

* Afghan cameleers in Australia * Australian feral camel * Camel howdah * Camel milk * Camel racing * Camel train (caravan) * Camel urine * Camel wrestling * Wal-Mart camel, Camelops (Walmart camel) * Camel farming in Sudan * ''Camelus moreli'' * Dromedary * Xerocole


Notes


References

* *
Camels and Camel Milk. Report Issued by FAO, United Nations. (1982)
* *


Further reading

*


External links




Six Green Reasons to Drink Camel's Milk



The Camel as a pet

"Could Emirati camels hold the key to treating venomous snake bites?"
{{Authority control Camels, African cuisine Arab cuisine Camelids Domesticated animals Halal food Livestock Middle Eastern cuisine Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus