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Camel
Dromedary, Camelus dromedarius
Bactrian camel, Camelus bactrianus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Genus: Camelus
Linnaeus, 1758
Species

Camelus bactrianus
Camelus dromedarius
Camelus gigas (fossil)
Camelus hesternus (fossil)
Camelus sivalensis (fossil)


The Camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fat deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the Bactrian camel has two humps. They are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia, and Central and East Asia, respectively. Both species are domesticated to provide milk and meat, and as beasts of burden.

The term camel is also used more broadly to describe any of the six camel-like creatures in the family Camelidae: the two true camels, and the four South American camelids, the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña.

The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A fully grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in) at the hump. The hump rises about 30 inches (76.20 cm) out of its body. Camels can run at up to 65 km/h (40 mph) in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).

Fossil evidence indicates that the ancestors of modern camels evolved in North America during the Palaeogene period, and later spread to most parts of Asia. Humans first domesticated camels before 2000 BC.[1][2]

Contents

Distribution and numbers

The almost 14 million dromedaries alive today are domesticated animals (mostly living in Somalia, the Sahel, Maghreb, Middle East and Indian subcontinent). An estimated quarter of the world's camel population is found in Somalia and in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, where the camel is an important part of nomadic Somali life. They provide the Somali people with milk, food and transportation.

Camel headcount in 2003

The Bactrian camel is now reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, mostly domesticated. It is thought that there are about 1000 wild Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.[3]

There is a substantial feral population of dromedaries estimated[4] at up to 1,000,000 in central parts of Australia, descended from individuals introduced as transport animals in the 19th century and early 20th century. This population is growing at approximately 18% per year. The government of South Australia has decided to cull the animals using aerial marksmen, because the camels use too much of the limited resources needed by sheep farmers. For more information, see Australian feral camel.

A small population of introduced camels, dromedaries and Bactrians survived in the Southwest United States until the 1900s. These animals, imported from Turkey, were part of the U.S. Camel Corps experiment and used as draft animals in mines and escaped or were released after the project was terminated. A descendant of one of these was seen by a backpacker in Los Padres National Forest in 1972. Twenty-three Bactrian camels were brought to Canada during the Cariboo Gold Rush.

Eco-behavioural adaptations

Camels do not store water in their humps as is commonly believed. The humps are actually a reservoir of fatty tissue. Concentrating body fat in their humps minimizes heat-trapping insulation throughout the rest of their body, which may be an adaptation to living in hot climates.[5] When this tissue is metabolized, it acts as a source of energy, and yields more than 1 g of water for each 1 g of fat converted through reaction with oxygen from air. This process of fat metabolization generates a net loss of water through respiration for the oxygen required to convert the fat.[6]

A camel's thick coat is one of their many adaptations that aid them in desert-like conditions.

Their ability to withstand long periods without water is due to a series of physiological adaptations. Their red blood cells have an oval shape, unlike those of other mammals, which are circular. This is to facilitate their flow in a dehydrated state. These cells are also more stable[7] in order to withstand high osmotic variation without rupturing when drinking large amounts of water (100 litres (22 imp gal; 26 US gal) to 150 litres (33 imp gal; 40 US gal) in one drink).[8] Oval red corpuscles are not found in any other mammal, but are present in reptiles, birds, and fish.[9]

Camels are able to withstand changes in body temperature and water content that would kill most other animals. Their temperature ranges from 34 °C (93 °F) at night up to 41 °C (106 °F) during the day, and only above this threshold will they begin to sweat. The upper body temperature range is often not reached during the day in milder climatic conditions, and therefore, the camel may not sweat at all during the day. Evaporation of their sweat takes place at the skin level, not at the surface of their coat, thereby being very efficient at cooling the body compared to the amount of water lost through perspiration.

Camels are used as a draft animals in Pakistan
Domesticated camels at the Pyramids of Giza

A feature of their nostrils is that a large amount of water vapor in their exhalations is trapped and returned to their body fluids, thereby reducing the amount of water lost through respiration.[10]

They can withstand at least 20-25% weight loss due to sweating (most mammals can only withstand about 15% dehydration before cardiac failure results from circulatory disturbance). A camel's blood remains hydrated, even though the body fluids are lost, until this 25% limit is reached.

Camels eating green herbage can ingest sufficient moisture in milder conditions to maintain their bodies' hydrated state without the need for drinking.[11]

A camel's thick coat reflects sunlight, and also insulates it from the intense heat radiated from desert sand. A shorn camel has to sweat 50% more to avoid overheating. Their long legs help by keeping them further from the hot ground. Camels have been known to swim.[12]

Their mouth is very sturdy, able to chew thorny desert plants. Long eyelashes and ear hairs, together with sealable nostrils, form a barrier against sand. Their gait and their widened feet help them move without sinking into the sand.

The kidneys and intestines of a camel are very efficient at retaining water. Urine comes out as a thick syrup, and their feces are so dry that they can fuel fires.

All camelids have an unusual immune system. In all mammals, the Y-shaped 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 also have antibody molecules that have only two heavy chains, which makes them smaller and more durable. These heavy chain-only antibodies, which were discovered in 1993, probably developed 50 million years ago, after camelids split from ruminants and pigs, according to biochemist Serge Muyldermans.[13]

The camel is the only animal to have replaced the wheel (mainly in North Africa) where the wheel had already been established. The camel did not lose that distinction until the wheel was combined with the internal combustion engine in the 20th century.

Military uses

English Imperial Camel Corps Brigade in Egypt

Attempts have been made to employ camels as cavalry and dragoon mounts and as freight animals instead of horses and mules. In some places, such as Australia, some of the camels have become feral and are considered to be dangerous to travelers on camels. The camels were mostly used in combat because of their ability to scare off horses in close ranges, a quality famously employed by the Achaemenid Persians when fighting Lydia, although the Persians usually used camels as baggage trains for arrows and equipment. The horses detest the smell of camels, and therefore, the horses in the vicinity become harder to control. The United States Army had an active camel corps stationed in California in the 19th century, and the brick stables may still be seen at the Benicia Arsenal in Benicia, California, now converted to artists' and artisans' studio spaces. Camels have been used in wars throughout Africa, and also in the East Roman Empire as auxiliary forces known as Dromedarii recruited in desert provinces. During the American Civil War, camels were used at an experimental stage, but were not used any further, as they were unpopular with the men.

Cuisine

Dairy

Camel calf feeding on her mother's milk

Camel milk is a staple food of desert nomad tribes and is richer in fat and protein than cow milk. It is said to have many healthful properties. It is used as a medicinal product in India and as an aphrodisiac in Ethiopia. Bedouins believe that the curative powers of camel milk is enhanced if the camel's diet consists of certain plants. Camel milk can readily be made into yogurt, but can only be made into butter or cheese with difficulty. Butter or yogurt made from camel milk is said to have a very faint greenish tinge.

Camel milk cannot be made into butter by the traditional churning method. It can be made if it is soured first, churned, and a clarifying agent added, or if it is churned at 24–25 °C (75–77 °F), but times vary greatly in achieving results. Until recently, camel milk could not be made into cheese because rennet was unable to coagulate the milk proteins to allow the collection of curds. Under the commission of the FAO, Professor J.P. Ramet of the École Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie et des Industries Alimentaires (ENSAIA) was able to produce curdling by the addition of calcium phosphate and vegetable rennet.[14] The cheese produced from this process has low levels of cholesterol and lactose. The sale of camel cheese is limited owing to the low yield of cheese from milk and the uncertainty of pasteurization levels for camel milk which makes adherence to dairy import regulations difficult.

Meat

Domesticated camel calves in Dubai

A camel carcass can provide a substantial amount of meat. The male dromedary carcass can weigh 400 kg (900 lb) or more, while the carcass of a male Bactrian can weigh up to 650 kg (1,400 lb). The carcass of a female camel (or she-camel) weighs less than the male, ranging between 250 and 350 kg (550 and 770 lb), but can provide a substantial amount of meat. The brisket, ribs and loin are among the preferred parts, but the hump is considered a delicacy and is most favored. It is reported that camel meat tastes like coarse beef, but older camels can prove to be tough and less flavorful.

Camel meat has been eaten for centuries. It has been recorded by ancient Greek writers as an available dish in ancient Persia at banquets, usually roasted whole. The ancient Roman emperor Heliogabalus enjoyed camel's heel. Camel meat is still eaten in certain regions including Somalia, where it is called Hilib geyl, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Kazakhstan and other arid regions where alternative forms of protein may be limited or where camel meat has had a long cultural history. In the Middle East, camel meat is the rarest and most prized source of pastırma. Not just the meat, but also blood is a consumable item as is the case in northern Kenya, where camel blood is a source of iron, vitamin D, salts and minerals. Camel meat is also occasionally found in Australian cuisine, for example, a camel lasagne is available in Alice Springs.

Fossil camel footprint (a trace fossil) from the Miocene (Barstovian) of southern California

Health issues

A 2005 report issued jointly by the Saudi Ministry of Health and the United States Center for Disease Control details cases of human bubonic plague resulting from the ingestion of raw camel liver.[15]

Cultural prohibitions on consuming camel products

According to Jewish tradition, camel meat and milk are not kosher. Camels possess only one of the two Kosher criteria; although they chew their cuds, they do not possess cloven hooves. (See: Taboo food and drink)

See also

References

  1. ^ Scarre, Chris (1993-09-15). Smithsonian Timelines of the Ancient World. London: D. Kindersley. p. 176. ISBN 978-1564583055. "Both the dromedary (the seven-humped camel of Arabia) and the Bactrian camel (the two-humped camel of Central Asia) had been domesticated since before 2000 BC."  
  2. ^ Bulliet, Richard (1990-05-20) [1975]. The Camel and the Wheel. Morningside Book Series. Columbia University Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0231072359. "As has already been mentioned, this type of utilization camels pulling wagons goes back to the earliest known period of two-humped camel domestication in the third millennium B.C."  —Note that Bulliet has many more references to early use of camels
  3. ^ Wild Bactrian Camel, Animal Info
  4. ^ Edwards GP, Zeng B, Saalfeld WK, Vaarzon-Morel P and McGregor M (Eds). 2008. Managing the impacts of feral camels in Australia: a new way of doing business. DKCRC Report 47. Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, Alice Springs. Available at http://www.desertknowledgecrc.com.au/publications/contractresearch.html Retrieved November 25, 2009.
  5. ^ Rice, Jocelyn (2009-01-05). "20 Things You Didn't Know About... Fat | Obesity". DISCOVER Magazine. http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jan/05-20-things-you-didnt-know-about-fat. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  6. ^ What secrets lie within the camel's hump?, Lund University, Sweden. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  7. ^ Eitan A, Aloni B, Livne A (April 1976). "Unique properties of the camel erythrocyte membrane, II. Organization of membrane proteins". Biochim Biophys. Acta 426 (4): 647–58. doi:10.1016/0005-2736(76)90129-2. PMID 816376. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/0005-2736(76)90129-2.  
  8. ^ Dromedary, Hannover Zoo. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  9. ^ Examining your blood under a compound microscope, Kidsmicroscope.com. Accessed June 7, 2009.
  10. ^ "A Pilgrimage To A Mystic'S Hermitage In Algeria - The". New York Times. 1981-07-12. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9E02E4DE1F38F931A25754C0A967948260. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  11. ^ FAO Camels, Camel information from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.
  12. ^ The Straight Dope, Answering the question Is the Camel the Only Animal that can't Swim?
  13. ^ Koenig R (November 2007). "Veterinary medicine. 'Camelized' antibodies make waves". Science 318 (5855): 1373. doi:10.1126/science.318.5855.1373. PMID 18048665.  
  14. ^ Fresh from your local drome'dairy'? Food and Agriculture Organization, July 6, 2001
  15. ^ Bin Saeed AA, Al-Hamdan NA, Fontaine RE (September 2005). "Plague from eating raw camel liver". Emerging Infect Dis. 11 (9): 1456–7. PMID 16229781. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol11no09/05-0081.htm.  

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Camels article)

From Wikiquote

A camel's hump is an ugly lump

A camel is a large mammal, used in the Middle East as a beast of burden. It has (depending on the species) one or two large humps on its back.

Sourced

  • It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
    Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
  • Looking athwart the burning flats, far off
    Seen by the high-necked camel on the verge
    Journeying southward
  • A camel's hump is an ugly lump
  • 'Take my camel, dear,' said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
  • The camel has a single hump,
    The dromedary, two;
    Or else the other way around;
    I'm never sure. Are you?

Unsourced

  • A camel is a horse designed by committee.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Camel article)

From Wikisource

The Camel
by Aesop

L'Estrange's translation (1692)

A CAMEL AT FIRST SIGHT

Upon the first Sight of a Camel, all People ran from it, in Amazement at so monstrous a Bulk. Upon the second sight, finding that it did them no hurt, they took heart upon’t, went up to’t, and view’d it. But when they came, upon further Experience, to take notice, how stupid a Beast it was, they ty’d it up, bridled it, loaded it with Packs and Burdens, set Boys upon the Back on’t, and treated it with the last Degree of Contempt.

THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. Novelty surprizes us, and we have naturally a Horror for uncouth mishapen Monsters; but ‘tis our Ignorance that staggers us, for upon Custom and Experience all these Bugs grow familiar and easy to us.

Townsend's translation (1887)

The Camel

When man first saw the Camel, he was so frightened at his vast size that he ran away. After a time, perceiving the meekness and gentleness of the beast's temper, he summoned courage enough to approach him. Soon afterwards, observing that he was an animal altogether deficient in spirit, he assumed such boldness as to put a bridle in his mouth, and to let a child drive him.

Use serves to overcome dread.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to camel article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

A camel (camelus bactrianus)
See also camèl, and camęl

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Etymology

Old English, from Latin camēlus, from Ancient Greek κάμηλος (kamēlos), from Proto-Semitic *gamal-; compare Arabic جمل (jamal) and Hebrew גמל (gamal).

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
camel

Plural
camels

camel (plural camels)

  1. A beast of burden, much used in desert areas, of the genus camelus.
  2. A light brownish color, tan.
  3. Loaded vessels lashed tightly, one on each side of a another vessel, and then emptied to reduce the draught of the ship in the middle.

Translations

Related terms

See also

Anagrams

  • Anagrams of acelm
  • calme

Tocharian B

Noun

camel

  1. birth

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

from the Hebrew gamal, "to repay" or "requite," as the camel does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being "ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck, long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a horse, which is arched."

  1. The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
  2. The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek dromos, "a runner" (Isa 60:6; Jer 2:23), has but one hump, and is a native of Western Asia or Africa.

The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of burden (Gen 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1Sam 30:17; Isa 21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by Pharaoh to Abraham (Gen 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten, as it was ranked among unclean animals (Lev 11:4; Deut 14:7). Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1Chr 27:30), and after the Exile (Ez 2:67; Neh 7:69). Camels were much in use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kg 10:2; 2Chr 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2Kg 8:9).

To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Mt 19:24).

To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also a proverbial expression (Mt 23:24), used with reference to those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.

The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair (Mt 3:4; Mk 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was also the case with Elijah (2Kg 1:8), who is called "a hairy man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold, and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2Kg 1:8; Isa 15:3; Zech 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.

This article needs to be merged with CAMEL (Jewish Encyclopedia).
This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Facts about CamelRDF feed

Simple English

Camel
File:07. Camel Profile, near Silverton, NSW, 07.07.
Dromedary, Camelus dromedarius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Genus: Camelus
Linnaeus, 1758

Camels are mammals of the Camelidae family. Camels form the genus Camelus. They are also called Afro-Asiatic Camelids. There are two living species of camels.

Contents

Taxonomy and appearance

A dromedary has one hump on its back. A Bactrian camel has two humps on its back.

Habitat and adaptation

[[File:|thumb|left|200px|Camels in 2003.]] Camels live in deserts, where it is hot and dry. Camels have adaptations that help them live in deserts. They have a thick coat of hair that protects them from the sun. They have wide, soft feet, so they can walk a long time in the hot sand.

Several adaptations help a camel save water. When there is food and water, a camel can eat and drink large amounts and store it as fat in the hump. Then, when there is no food or water, the camel uses the fat for energy, and the hump becomes small and soft. A camel’s waste contains very little water. Even the water from the camel’s breath flows back into its mouth.

A camel has a naturally adapted thermostat - it can change its bodily temperature by six degrees Celsius either way. It has two sets of eyelashes, closing muscles in the nasal passages with slited nostrils, hairy ears and tough, leathery skin to protect the camels skin in vital emergencies such as a sandstorm. It has thick rubbery lips to eat dry, prickly plants and a large, haired tail to swat pests such as mosquitos and flies.

It has a long slender neck in order to reach high leaves such as palm trees, and rubbery patches on the belly and knees to protect the skin when kneeling and sitting on the hot sand. These form after five years of age.

Life

[[File:|thumb|150px|A Dromedary mother and its calf.]] Camels live in groups, with one male, several females, and their young calves.

Reproduction

An unborn camel gestates about 12 to 13 months. There is usually one calf per birth. A camel calf can run only a few hours after it is born. Calves are weaned when they are about 1-2 years old.

Diet

In the desert, people feed camels with grass, grains, wheat and oats. When camels are travelling in the desert, food is often very hard to find. So the animal might have to live on dried leaves, seeds, and thorny twigs (without hurting their mouths). If there is not any regular food, camels will eat anything: bones, fish, meat, leather, even their owner's tent. Some people claim camels also eat sand.

Digestion

Camels are ruminants. But a camel's stomach has three sections instead of four. Camels do not chew their food very well before swallowing. The first stomach stores the food that is not completely chewed. Later, this food (or cud) returns to the camel's mouth, and the camel chews it again. Then the camel swallows the cud and it goes to the other parts of the stomach to be completely digested.

Camels and Humans

[[File:|thumb|200px|A camel train in Africa.]] Camels have been domesticated by humans for about 5000 years. They are used for riding and to carry things, and for meat, milk and wool.

As domesticated animals they are used in Africa, Asia, and since the 19th century also in Australia. About 900-1000 wild Bactrian Camels still live in China and Mongolia. There are no wild Dromedaries anymore, but there are escaped domestic Dromedaries in Australia. Today there are about 50,000 Dromedaries living wild in the Outback in Australia.

A Dromedary and a Bactrian Camel can have hybrid children that are called Tulus or Bukhts. These hybrids are larger than the Dromedary or Bactrian Camel, and have either one long hump or one small and one big hump.

When a camel calf reaches one year of age, the owner often teaches it to stand and kneel on command. They also learn to carry small, light packs around. As they grow older, the size of the pack also increases.

Gallery

Other websites

Look up Camelus in Wikispecies, a directory of species
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