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ruminant mammal of the family Camelidae. The family consists of three genera, the true camels of Asia (genus Camelus); the wild guanacoguanaco
or huanaco
, wild mammal of the camel family, Lama guanicoe, found on arid plains in the Andes Mts. It is about 3 1-2 ft (105 cm) high at the shoulder, with a long neck; it is brown on the back and sides, with light underparts and a dark face.
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 and the domesticated alpacaalpaca
, partially domesticated South American mammal, Lama pacos, of the camel family. Genetic studies show that it is a descendant of the vicuña. Although the flesh is sometimes used for food, the animal is bred chiefly for its long, lustrous wool, which varies
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 and llamallama
, South American domesticated ruminant mammal, Lama glama, of the camel family. Genetic studies indicate that it is descended from the guanaco. Smaller than the camel and lacking a hump, it somewhat resembles a large sheep with a long neck, camellike face, and long
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, all of South America (genus Lama); and the vicuñavicuña
, wild South American hoofed mammal, Vicugna vicugna, the smallest member of the camel family. It is 30 in. (75 cm) high at the shoulder, with a long, slender neck and pale, fawn coloring.
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, also of South America (genus Vicugna). The hooves on members of the family are much reduced, growing only on the upper surface of the outside toes of the feet.

The two species of true camel are the single-humped Arabian camel, or dromedary, Camelus dromedarius, a domesticated animal used in Arabia and North Africa, and the two-humped Bactrian camel (C. bactrianus) of central Asia. Some wild Bactrian camels exist in Turkistan and Mongolia, and Arabian and Bactrian camels imported by the British to Australia have become naturalized in parts of the continent. The humps are storage places for fat. Camels range in color from dirty white to dark brown and have long necks, small ears, tough-skinned lips, and powerful teeth, some of which are sharply pointed. The camel uses the mouth in fighting. Adaptations to desert life include broad, flat, thick-soled two-toed feet that do not sink into the sand; the ability to go without drinking for several days—or longer if juicy plants are available; and valvular nostrils lined with hairs for protection against flying sand. Horny pads help to protect the chest, knees, and thigh joints against injury from the hard surfaces on which the camel sleeps.

Strong camels usually carry from 500 to 600 lb (230 to 270 kg) and cover about 30 mi (48 km) a day. Some Bactrian camels can transport 1,000 lb (450 kg). A light, fleet breed of dromedary is used for riding and not for bearing heavy loads. The name dromedary was formerly applied to any swift riding camel.

Geologic findings indicate that the camel originated in North America, that one group migrated to Asia and the other to South America, and that both became extinct in North America probably after the glacial period. Camels are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Camelidae.


See studies by H. Gauthier-Pilters and A. I. Dagg (1981) and R. Irwin (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Camelus), a genus of the order Artiodactyla of the camel family (Camelidae). There are two species: the single-humped camel, or dromedary (C. dromedarius), height at the withers, up to 210 cm, color reddish-gray; and the double-humped, or Bactrian camel (C. bactrianus), height at the withers somewhat less, color dark-brown. Only the double-humped camel is found in the wild state; it roams in Asia (in the Sinkiang deserts and in southwestern Mongolia).

Distribution of camels is limited to desert zones and arid steppes. Camels cannot exist in mountains or locations with damp climates. In the process of evolution camels have developed a number of adaptations to conditions of deserts and arid steppes. Camels eat certain desert plants that are eaten rarely or not at all by other animals; they are satisfied with a minimal quantity of water and can drink salt water. In contradistinction to other ruminants, camels have two incisors in the upper jaw. The parts that touch the ground when they lie down are supplied with callous formations: camels have sternal, carpal, ulnar, and patellar calluses. As a result, camels are capable of lying down on extremely hot soil (up to 70° C). Both hooves of each foot are insignificant in size. Camels support themselves on their broad, soft paws; this facilitates walking on sand.

Camels have been domesticated since 2000 .B.C. The weight of an adult camel is 500-800 kg. Sexual maturity is attained by 2-3 years of age; females are allowed to mate at 3-4 years, males at 5-6 years. Gestation in female dromedaries lasts 13 months, in Bactrians 14 months. The females bear one offspring every two years. Newborn camels are very weak and require careful tending. The suckling period is 18 months. Camels are pasture animals; they graze only by day and at night lie down to rest and ruminate.

Under desert and arid-steppe conditions, camels are the most powerful pack and draft animals. The average pulling force of camels is 10-12 percent of their liveweight; average load mass carried on the back reaches 50 percent of the camel’s mass. Under a rider the camel, a pacer, covers about 100 km per day at a speed of 10-12 km/hr. Camels are worked from age 4 to 20-25 (they live 35-40 years). Milk, meat, and wool are also obtained from camels. Camel’s milk is used to prepare koumiss, butter, and cheeses. Average annual milk production in dromedaries is 2, 000 kg (in the arvana breed, over 4, 000 kg) with butterfat content of 4.5 percent; in Bactrians, 750 kg with 5.4 percent butterfat. The meat of young, well-fed camels is not inferior to beef in nutritive value; dressed yield is 50 percent. Camel’s wool contains up to 85 percent fleece, from which thin woolen fabrics are manufactured; it is valued more highly than coarse sheep’s wool. Beaver, high-quality knit fabrics, blankets, and other things are also manufactured from camel’s wool. It lends sturdiness to fabrics when blended with sheep’s wool. The clip of wool from a Bactrian is 5-10 kg (from the Kalmyk breed, up to 13 kg), and from a dromedary, 2-4 kg. The wool of Bactrians is of higher quality and greater value.

The most common diseases of camels include trypanosomiasis, >influenza, echinococcosis, camel plague, and mange.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for two species of artiodactyl mammals, the bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and the dromedary camel (C. dromedarius), in the family Camelidae.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. either of two cud-chewing artiodactyl mammals of the genus Camelus (see Arabian camel, Bactrian camel): family Camelidae. They are adapted for surviving long periods without food or water in desert regions, esp by using humps on the back for storing fat
2. a float attached to a vessel to increase its buoyancy
3. a raft or float used as a fender between a vessel and a wharf
a. a fawn colour
b. (as adjective): a camel coat
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(Customized Application of Mobile network Enhanced Logic) A set of ETSI standards for extending landline intelligent network (IN) telephony services to the data services of GSM, GPRS and UMTS mobile systems. CAMEL functions were added in phases. Phase 1 covers basic features such as call waiting and forwarding. Phase 2 supports prepaid calling and unstructured supplementary service data (see USSD). Phase 3 supports roaming; Phase 4 adds multimedia services, and Phase 5 provides seamless prepaid roaming. See CAP.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Okoh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday in Abuja, that camel milk had great nutrition that could also benefit babies.
The manager of the Camel Breeders' Union of Mongolia, Narantui Arunsana, said that today camel breeding is one of the main types of agriculture.
Bashir says they found out that Kenya is the fifth largest camel hub in the world, with 3.3 million animals being kept.
This was stated by the experts at national camel conference, arranged by Department of Anatomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, and Department of Livestock and Dairy Development at New Senate Hall UAF here on Tuesday.
He was speaking at a national camel conference organised by the UAF Department of Anatomy and Department of Livestock and Dairy Development at the New Senate Hall on Tuesday.
A total of two hundred blood samples were collected under natural conditions from camels present in district Attock.
Workers were drilled on camel milking and have since been milking the camels every week.
Held under the auspices of H E Sheikh Madit bin Mohamed bin Abdullah al Yaqobi, Governor of Al Wusta, the event witnessed the attendance of H E Sheikh Said bin Saud al Ghufili, chairman of the Oman Camel Racing Federation, and Nasser Issa al Maskari, corporate social responsibility manager at Occidental Oman.
Australia can fill that gap because it's home to the biggest herd of wild camels in the world, said Steingiesser, who joined Good Earth Dairy as chief executive officer in 2016, without ever having tasted the slightly salty milk that camels produce.
Multan, Dr Majid said that camel milk was 100 per cent
Nasim Sadiq, the department's secretary, says Punjab has 90,000 camels and has the potential for producing 12,000 litres of milk per day.
The second edition of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival, said to be the world's largest celebration for camels, kicked off in the beginning of the month in the southern desert terrains of Al-Dahna, 120km from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.