Category: Tech / Sci / March 6, 2013 3:49 PM EST
Scientists in Canada confirmed Tuesday (March 5) they have found the ancestor of modern camels in Ellesmere Island in northern Canada. The Paleobiologist (Natalie Rybczynski ) was researching climate change when she discovered pieces of bone:
"I thought it might be wood, I could see there are no tree rings here. There are pores and the texture was clearly bone."
It took years for a team of scientists to put the bone fragments together and discovered they were part of a leg bone. After testing the proteins of the bone, they discovered it matched with a modern camel.
The discovery was the first proof that camels lived in the Arctic three and a half million years ago. Scientists believe the North American camel disappeared during the last ice age after migrating to warmer places.
These fossils helped to fill in crucial details about a very different northern environment.
"It gives us idea of the ecology at the time, and also the first camels in live in a forest type of and that far north”
She said the winters 3.5 million years ago lasted about six months and the features that enabled the ancient camel to the survive cold winters, were its broad feet and signature hump of fat, also proved equally useful as the species went to desert regions.