Giant camel fossil found in Arctic
2013 03 05
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."
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
Latest News from our Front Page
Saudi oil chief: No conspiracy behind oil prices
Nothing to see here or here
Saudi Arabia's oil chief on Sunday dismissed allegations that his kingdom conspired to bring down oil prices in order to harm other countries and told a summit of Arab energy leaders that he was confident the market would stabilize.
The kingdom, which is dependent on oil revenues, is able to weather lower oil prices due to ...
North Korea's internet is having serious problems
North Korea is having serious connectivity issues this morning, North Korea Tech reports. The country has extremely limited web infrastructure to begin with, but reports from Dyn indicate the country's infrastructure has suffered a series of major outages over the past 24 hours. As a result, anyone at a North Korean IP would have found it nearly impossible to connect ...
The Left, The State And (Opportunistically As Always) Big Business
Adapted from Paul Gottfried‘s address to the 2014 H.L. Mencken Club Conference, at a panel focused on “The Left and the State,“ following remarks made by Carl Horowitz of the National Legal and Policy Center and Keith Preston of Attack the System
I’d like to come back to a remark that Carl Horowitz made in Keith Preston described in his remarks, ...
'The Interview' A Sony False Flag Hack and Hollywood's Empire of Mediocrity
It’s official: Sony Pictures has pulled the plug on The Interview – across all media platforms.
The chain of events which led to this point may forever be marked by historians as a seminal, watershed moment in this troubling epoch, known simply as, ‘The Age of Stupidity’.
Without a doubt, the most exciting piece of foreign theater involving the US and North ...
US Silent on Psychologists Role in CIA’s Tortures: Doctors
Physicians for Human Rights had not received any response from the US Federal Commission to their call to investigate the role of health professionals in CIA’s torture program, Deputy Director of the organization told Sputnik.
December 19 (Sputnik) — US government has not responded to calls to prosecute doctors, who participated in CIA torture program, the Deputy Director of Communications for ...
|More News » |