Bactrian camels and dromedaries belong to the same family as alpacas, llamas, vicunas and guanacos, namely Camelids. They are pseudo-ruminants and have only three stomachs (unlike sheep and cows which are true ruminants and have four stomachs). Camelids take longer to digest food than true ruminants and therefore perform better in poor pastures. They still need to chew the cud, however, so cannot have a bridle going in the mouth like horses, and wear a muzzle. Camelids have padded feet which do not break the ground causing minimal erosion, unlike most other beasts of burden which have hoofed feet.
Camels live in Asia and the Middle East, while alpacas and their relatives live in South America. The ancestors of both camels and alpacas originated in North America 40 to 45 million years ago. About 2 million years ago, animals that looked like the Bactrian camels migrated north, reaching Asia. A second group migrated to South America and became the alpacas and llamas. These migrations were probably due to the advancing ice age and camel forebears then became extinct in North America.
A) Alpacas and other South American Camelids
B) Camels from Asia & North Africa
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