Named By: Joseph Leidy - 1854.
Synonyms: Camelops conidens, Camelops maximus, Eschatius.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Camelidae, Camelopini.
Species: C. huerfanensis, C. hesternus, C. kansanus, C. minidokae, C. sulcatus, C. traviswhitei.
Size: Around 2.1 meters tall at the shoulder.
Known locations: Across North America.
Time period: Late Pliocene through to end of the Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Many specimens.
certainly not the only North American camel known to us, Camelops
seems to have been the last to go extinct. The theories as to why
this happened are controversial but in the case of Camelops
hunting was certainly a contributing factor since evidence of butchery
(the processing of a carcass for food) has been found on some
Camelops fossils from the time that they
disappeared. It is important
to remember however that the climate of North America was undergoing
considerable changes during the end of the Pleistocene as well,
something that would have reduced Camelops
populations even further.
It is not certain if Camelops had a prominent hump or even humps like today’s camels, but the vertebrae of Camelops do have prominent neural spines similar to the Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius). By comparison it is at least possible that Camelops may have had a hump. Some plant remains have been found between the teeth of Camelops, analysis of which suggests that Camelops was a generalist herbivore that fed upon whatever plants were available.
In 2007 Camelops, or more accurately the ‘Wal-Mart Camel’ as it was dubbed in the media, made headlines when a construction crew at a Wal-Mart site in Mesa, Arizona discovered the remains of two juvenile Camelops while digging a hole for a citrus tree. These remains have since been handed over to the Geology Museum of Arizona.
- A new species of camel (genus Camelops) from the Pleistocene of Aguascalientes, Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 19(4):341-345 - O. Mooser & W. W. Dalquist - 1975.
- On the possible utilization of Camelops by early man in North America. - Quaternary Research 22 (2): 216–230 - Gary Haynes & Dennis Stanford - 1984.