Camelops

Name: Camelops ‭(‬Camel face‭)‬.
Phonetic: Cam-el-ops.
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.
Diet: Herbivore.
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.

       Although 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 human 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.

Further reading
- 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.



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