Where do Camels REALLY Come From?

These Desert Dwellers Weren’t Always in the Desert

When I ask you where camels come from, what is the first place you think of? Chances are, you probably thought of the desert. But as archeology has found, they come from a place that is nowhere near the desert.

Natalia Rybczynski, a paleobiologist, was digging up fossils in the Arctic Circle when she noticed something weird. There was a fossil that just didn’t belong. She and a few other scientists studied the levels of chemicals in the bones and found that they matched up with an unlikely creature: the camel. They determined that this camel would be 30% larger than their modern-day counterparts. So yes, camels are American.

They had no idea how camels ended up so far north, in the tundra. But after much thought, they figured out that their builds were a perfect fit for the tundra. Their wide hooves were made to walk over mounds of powdery snow (and also sand). Here’s a fun fact: the camel’s hump is just fat; it doesn’t hold any water. All that fat helps keep them warm in the chilly conditions, so it seems more than likely that camels lived in the Arctic Circle.

These camels traveled down through North America and later went extinct. Before they disappeared, the alpaca evolved from those camels.

Camels are versatile creatures that have adaptations to fit in many environments. This tale tells us that even the most unlikely things can be possible with a bit of thought.