17:12 06 March 2013
Most camels are found in deserts, but Canadian researchers have found the remains of what is believed to be a giant camel in the High Arctic. The team, who were led by Doctor Natalia Rybczynski, found the fossil at Ellesmere Island.
Following the discovery at Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.
It is thought that the animal roamed the earth up to 3.5million years ago, and that contrary to how we imagine camels in the wild today, this mammal would have had to endure severe wintery conditions.
The finding alters what we have come to know about camels today, as now it appears the animal - which is believed to be linked to modern day camels - existed further north than what was previously predicted by experts.
In order to reach a conclusion as to what animal the remains belong, Dr. Rybczynski from the Canadian Museum of Nature sought the help of a man from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, Doctor Mike Buckley.
Dr. Buckley said of the method used; “This is the first time that collagen has been extracted and used to identify a species from such ancient bone fragments.”
When asked to think of the High Arctic, this would usually conjure up images of polar bears, ice and snow blizzards for most people. And the 21st Century camel is known to be able to survive in conditions that are the opposite of this.
Today, the design of a camel means that its large eyelashes help to keep sand from their eyes if they endure desert storms, and their feet can enable them to walk across desert sand.
The island on which the fossil was found, which is apparently Canada’s third biggest island, is thought to be associated with Queen Elizabeth Islands, formerly known as the Parry Islands.
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