noun, plural: camels
A camel is a mammal of the genus Camelus of the family Camelidae of the phylum Chordata. The family Camelidae is comprised of two true camels (Old World) and the other four camelids: llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicugna (New World).
The Old World includes the dromedary camel (C. dromedarius) and the Bactrian camel (C. bactrianus). Their major common features are the humps on their back and even-numbered toes. The humps on its back are fatty deposits that help and enable them survive in arid habitats. The males have an organ on their throat called a dulla. It is an inflatable sac that the male shows off hanging from their mouth. It is believed to be a behavior to assert dominance or to attract females. The camels are the only ungulates known to mate in a sitting position.
The dromedary camel is the one-humped camel that is commonly found in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. The Bactrian camel is a two-humped camel that is commonly found in Central Asia. The domesticated camels are a source of milk and meat. They are also doing tasks such as transporting and bearing loads.
Word origin: Latin camēlus, Ancient Greek kámēlos
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Camelidae
- Genus: Camelus (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Species: Camelus bactrianus, Camelus dromedaries, Camelus ferus