Tag Archives: Camels

Highlatitude camel and the evolution of Plestocene cold adapted fauna

Another element of Pleistocene faunal community ancestors has been found.
Reported in the Nature Communications.

Rybczynski, N., Gosse, J. C., Richard Harington, C., Wogelius, R. A., Hidy, A. J. & Buckley, M., 2013: Mid-Pliocene warm-period deposits in the High Arctic yield insight into camel evolution.
–Nature Communications: Vol. 4, pp. 1550 [doi: 10.1038/ncomms2516]

“The mid-Pliocene was a global warm period, preceding the onset of Quaternary glaciations. Here we use cosmogenic nuclide dating to show that a fossiliferous terrestrial deposit that includes subfossil trees and the northern-most evidence of Pliocene ice wedge casts in Canada’s High Arctic (Ellesmere Island, Nunavut) was deposited during the mid-Pliocene warm period. The age estimates correspond to a general maximum in high latitude mean winter season insolation, consistent with the presence of a rich, boreal-type forest. Moreover, we report that these deposits have yielded the first evidence of a High Arctic camel, identified using collagen fingerprinting of a fragmentary fossil limb bone. Camels originated in North America and dispersed to Eurasia via the Bering Isthmus, an ephemeral land bridge linking Alaska and Russia. The results suggest that the evolutionary history of modern camels can be traced back to a lineage of giant camels that was well established in a forested Arctic.”


Camels in Beringia!

Last interglacial western camel (Camelops hesternus) from eastern Beringia
Grant D. Zazula, Derek G. Turner, Brent C. Ward, Jeffrey Bond

Quaternary Science Reviews
Volume 30, Issues 19-20, September 2011, Pages 2355-2360


Western camel (C. hesternus) fossils are rare from Eastern Beringia, thus there is little available information on their chronology, paleoecology, and biogeography in this region. In August of 2010, a partial proximal phalanx of a western camel was recovered from a sedimentary exposure along the White River, in the formerly glaciated terrain of southwest Yukon, northwest Canada. The fossil specimen was recovered in situ from sediments that are correlated by stratigraphic, tephra and radiocarbon data to the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 interglacial period (Sangamonian). Associated paleoenvironmental data indicates that this western camel inhabited a shrub tundra ecosystem that did not include spruce trees or boreal forest during a relatively cold interval between MIS 5e and 5a. This is the oldest reliably dated western camel fossil from Eastern Beringia and supports the model of range expansion for this species to the high latitudes of northwest North America during the last interglacial (sensu lato).