Giant camel fossil found in Arctic
2013 03 05

From: BBCNews

Camels are well known for their ability to survive the hot and dry conditions of the desert, but a study suggests they once thrived in colder climes.

Scientists have unearthed the fossilised remains of a giant species of camel in Canada’s High Arctic.

An analysis of protein found in the bones has revealed that this creature, which lived about 3.5 million years ago, is an ancestor of today’s species.

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications.


The giant camels were thought to have lived about 3.5 million years ago and are believed to be direct ancestors of our modern species

Dr Mike Buckley, an author of the paper from the University of Manchester, said: "What’s interesting about this story is the location: this is the northernmost evidence of camels."

Cold conditions

The mid-Pliocene Epoch was a warm period of the Earth’s history - but surviving in the Arctic would have still been tough.

The ancient camels would have had to cope with long and harsh winters, with temperatures plunging well below freezing. There would have been snow storms and months of perpetual darkness.

Nonetheless, at this time, the polar region would have been covered in forest.

While scientists have known for some time that camels evolved in North America, with the earliest creatures dating to about 45 million years ago, they were astonished to find a species at such a high latitude.

Over the course of three expeditions, which began in 2006, researchers from the Canadian Museum of Nature collected 30 fragments of fossilised leg bone from Ellesmere Island in Canada.

Their size suggested that the animal was about 30% larger that today’s camels, measuring about 2.7m from foot to shoulder.

Despite its bulk, the researchers believe it would have been similar in appearance - although it probably had a shaggier coat to stay warm.

To investigate further, the team took collagen - the dominant protein found in bone - from the fossils, and compared this with collagen found in other fossils and modern animals.

Dr Buckley said: "These biomolecules tell us that it is a direct ancestor of modern camels."

He said the findings provided a new insight into the evolution of this animal.

"It suggests that many of the adaptations that we currently think of, in terms of camels being adapted to warm desert-like environments, could have actually originated through adaptation to quite the opposite extreme... cold, harsh environments," he explained.

The scientists believe that the camel’s hump (which stores fat, not water as is sometimes thought) could provide the reserves needed for an Arctic six-month winter.

Their large eyes would have helped them to see in the low light, and their flat feet would have been just as useful for walking on snow as they are on sand.

Article from: bbc.co.uk



Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Recent Israeli Synagogue Attack, a Possible False Flag?
2014 11 21
Dear Friends - I woke up yesterday morning to see a newspaper lying on the kitchen table with the front page proclaiming that five people were slain in an Israeli synagogue after a so-called "Palestinian attack." Some members of the media said that four people were killed, others said five, so it seems like that there was some confusion (or ...
The Michael Brown Shooting, Race Baiting for Political Power and Militarization of the Police
2014 11 21
From Youtube: The evidence clearly shows that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, so why is this case being hyped by the mainstream media and the leftist political establishment?
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies. “GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row
2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
More News »