When Camels Roamed North America

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  • Published: 21 November 2018
  • Camels are famous for adaptations that have allowed them to flourish where most other large mammals would perish. But their story begins over 40 million years ago in North America, and in an environment you’d never expect: a rainforest.  

    Special thanks to Julio Lacerda, WillemSvdMerwe, and Ryan Somma for allowing us to use their images in this episode!

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: office-2016.info/user/pbsdigitalstudios

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:

    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Anthony Callaghan, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Ehit Dinesh Agarwal, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Anel Salas, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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    References:
    jstor.org/stable/pdf/1304168.pdf
    repository.si.edu/handle/10088/1979
    books.google.com/books?id=I-RgojcDyWYC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=camel&f=false
    onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2052.2008.01848.x
    jstor.org/stable/4524199
    books.google.com/books?id=DWtCw6-AxA8C&pg=PA136&lpg=PA136&dq=camel&source=bl&ots=gUrNWj3psO&sig=YpvjEov5zpTUcSbrZFfDkoTrhFo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj_5siqvJreAhVMIDQIHSkpCaEQ6AEwC3oECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=camel&f=false
    play.google.com/books/reader?id=NGFaAAAAYAAJ&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA110
    sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/003101827990141X
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12052-009-0136-1
    nature.com/articles/ncomms2516.pdf
    sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018210003202
    pdfs.semanticscholar.org/966f/07eaaa19190b2a5db86657bfb00764d8c463.pdf#page=76
    pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2015/03/18/1420650112.full.pdf
    paleobiodb.org/classic/checkTaxonInfo?taxon_no=42514&is_real_user=1
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 899

  • PBS Eons
    PBS Eons   12 months back

    Hey, I want to clarify what we say about bactrian camels around 7:35. There are two different species of bactrians -- the so-called "wild bactrians" (camelus ferus), and "domestic bactrians" (camelus bactrianus). "Domestic bactrians" are descended from a species that is now extinct in the wild, and they are distinct from what we now called "wild bactrians". And the ancestor of domestic bactrians and what we call "wild bactrians" diverged 700,000 years ago, according to DNA evidence. So, they diverged BEFORE camelus bactrianus was ever domesticated. Domestication didn’t CAUSE the speciation, which is how some viewers were hearing what I said. I hope this clears things up. Sorry for the confusion! (BdeP)

    • John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt
      John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt  1 months back

      Yes and while you're at it remind us what you said about the "Arctic being warmer than it is today"

    • I'M THE MAN
      I'M THE MAN  2 months back

      I heard that in the wild wild west days of America. They brought camels back to America.

    • GetMeThere1
      GetMeThere1  5 months back

      How do you tell fossil animals with "three stomachs" vs ones with "four stomachs?"

    • Jenni Luce
      Jenni Luce  10 months back

      @InternetDarkLord
      Thank you very much! 😊

    • InternetDarkLord
      InternetDarkLord  10 months back

      @Jenni Luce I heard Jefferson Davis tried this when he was Secretary of War. For obvious reasons, he left when the Civil War began, so the whole thing was nipped in the bud very early. Still, I also heard a few lived into the 1900s in the wild.

  • steve154life
    steve154life  10 hours back

    Wat would happen if they like the horse waz reintroduced to North America

    • Devn
      Devn  1 days back

      Regardless of whether climate change exists or not, I am not commenting on it bc it is controversial.


      Since the deserts all over the world used to be rain forests. What if what we are experiencing on earth right now is actually the earth going through an intense heating period that will snap back into the largest ice age ever? We have evidence of ice ages followed by warming periods happening in the past.



      So how do we know climate change isn't just the earth heating up before an ice age...

      • Cam RSR
        Cam RSR  2 days back

        That sad camel in the snow! lmao

        • Inland Islander
          Inland Islander  3 days back

          Who else hears Mega Tai Lopez? 😂

          • Michael Hodge
            Michael Hodge  1 weeks back

            Well the thing of it is... there were humans in the Americas over 100,000 years ago. So we definitely ran into them way before 13,000 years ago.

            • Jason Jensen
              Jason Jensen  2 weeks back

              It is amazing how many large animals went extinct about the same time period, some 13,000 years ago and videos like this one have absolutely no information (8:57 on) about what Happened to them.

              • Seamus322
                Seamus322  2 weeks back

                In the 1800's, the U.S. Army imported camels as pack animals for the West. After the experiment, the survivors were turned loose and were sighted for decades after throughout the Southwest.

                • Carl Cacodemon
                  Carl Cacodemon  2 weeks back

                  Thanks for mentioning me, should’ve given me a little more screen time though

                  • hell is lit af
                    hell is lit af  2 weeks back

                    I wuv camels...

                    • Shane Dahlke
                      Shane Dahlke  3 weeks back

                      I'd like to learn about ancient fish of the world and whitch type of fish was first on the planet?

                      • Jason King
                        Jason King  3 weeks back

                        Artiodactyla also include cetaceans (whales, porpoises, and dolphins)

                        • Milton Roberts
                          Milton Roberts  4 weeks back

                          You missed the camel's return to North America. Imported by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis )yes,that one) for military use in the Southwest. Didn't work out well and some were let go and there were wild, camels in Arizona for many years until the 20th Century.

                          • Susan Farley
                            Susan Farley  1 months back

                            My grandmother found a fossilized camel jawbone in Florida in the 1930's. She donated it to the Smithsonian museum. She said they told her it was one of the first found in the US (I am not sure how true that is)

                            • Davey J
                              Davey J  1 months back

                              Show me that camel

                              • Storm striker
                                Storm striker  1 months back

                                I rode a camel 🐫 on a trip to Egypt it was scary yet fun

                                • Daybird Aviaries
                                  Daybird Aviaries  1 months back

                                  Your little proto looks like a mara.

                                  • Daybird Aviaries
                                    Daybird Aviaries  1 months back

                                    No one believes that the earth is that old.

                                    • Abhijit Desai
                                      Abhijit Desai  2 months back

                                      I am baffled with You tube's machine learning algorithm. It's almost as if some human reads your comments and suggests you videos accordingly!

                                      • Abhijit Desai
                                        Abhijit Desai  2 months back

                                        North America: the Atlantis of the camels! 😃

                                        • Gautam Sarathy
                                          Gautam Sarathy  2 months back

                                          So, anyone want to reintroduce camels to the Arctic?

                                          • Imran Shishir
                                            Imran Shishir  2 months back

                                            Mind blowing yet heart warming.

                                            • Unknown PhNtom
                                              Unknown PhNtom  2 months back

                                              3:42 anyone else get that reference?

                                              • Angel Caido
                                                Angel Caido  2 months back

                                                What is the dividing líne between a domesticated animal and a non domésticated one?

                                                • CURIOUS MONSTER
                                                  CURIOUS MONSTER  2 months back

                                                  This will upset the climate change nutters when they find out camels lived inside the Artic Circle

                                                  • Kunal Nandurkar
                                                    Kunal Nandurkar  2 months back

                                                    Kindly make video on ancient Himalaya how made and how it changes the mansoon and animals of Indian subcontinent! #PBS Eons

                                                    • Socra Tease
                                                      Socra Tease  2 months back

                                                      Man have we abused animals. Why do we have a right to another beings life?

                                                      • Ss Beauty
                                                        Ss Beauty  2 months back

                                                        Did Megatylopez drive a Lamborghini and have lots of books?

                                                        • Michael Lemasters
                                                          Michael Lemasters  2 months back

                                                          My question is how this hardy animal isn’t everywhere considering it lived pretty much everywhere at some time or another?

                                                          • Anna Morris
                                                            Anna Morris  2 months back

                                                            It seems like camels in North America could have, would have, adapted to leafy coastal regions and the southeastern U.S. which is semi-tropical.

                                                            • Dakotah Colson
                                                              Dakotah Colson  2 months back

                                                              I really can’t imagine the world without cities bro

                                                              • Wayne Anthony
                                                                Wayne Anthony  2 months back

                                                                Megatailopez 5:56

                                                                • Fat to Fierce
                                                                  Fat to Fierce  2 months back

                                                                  camels are some of the weirdest things i've ever seen.

                                                                  • Ruby Honey
                                                                    Ruby Honey  2 months back

                                                                    NOW SHEEP ROAM AMERICA......THEY CALL THEM DEMOCRAPS

                                                                    • Michael VanGundy
                                                                      Michael VanGundy  2 months back

                                                                      Hey Mike, Mike, Mike.
                                                                      What day is it?

                                                                      It's HUMP DAYYYYYYY!

                                                                      • bingbird23
                                                                        bingbird23  2 months back

                                                                        This guys voice sounds pathetic.

                                                                        • MALTA HIGH JACKER
                                                                          MALTA HIGH JACKER  2 months back

                                                                          I hate how north America has little to no mega fauna now a days thanks ancestors for not being smart enough to practice moderation

                                                                          • MALTA HIGH JACKER
                                                                            MALTA HIGH JACKER  2 months back

                                                                            @Gi Gi very true but I mean the biggest thing we have is bears and moose and a very small amount bison other contents have far more exotic species of mega fauna

                                                                          • Gi Gi
                                                                            Gi Gi  2 months back

                                                                            That’s not just North America though

                                                                        • Carl Cacodemon
                                                                          Carl Cacodemon  3 months back

                                                                          Yo Yo Yo You Talked About Me,
                                                                          Well maybe my peeps but not myself specifically
                                                                          Still pretty cool and I thank you a lot
                                                                          For mentioning me and my mom and pops

                                                                          • cayden adventurer
                                                                            cayden adventurer  3 months back

                                                                            I’m from Utah. It’s really interesting that camels came from here, when we don’t have them at all today.

                                                                            • Machine Gun Mike
                                                                              Machine Gun Mike  3 months back

                                                                              Do a video about adaptive radiation in the Hawaiian Islands please! :)

                                                                              • jose juarez
                                                                                jose juarez  3 months back

                                                                                What if those llamas and alpacas evolve back to the North American camel if they were brought back over or traveled back to North America

                                                                                • danimalplanimal
                                                                                  danimalplanimal  3 months back

                                                                                  hilarious that you use a silouette to explain the pacing gait, since it causes the image to be absolutely useless without the commentary since you can't tell which legs are in front.

                                                                                  • Andre Anderson
                                                                                    Andre Anderson  3 months back

                                                                                    Lol camelid explosion...

                                                                                    • Sean Stockton
                                                                                      Sean Stockton  3 months back

                                                                                      and steve

                                                                                      • Quaker Quickoats
                                                                                        Quaker Quickoats  3 months back

                                                                                        wonder if someone asked him to use his hands more while talking,
                                                                                        looks rather like he keeps handling some invisible breastery

                                                                                        • William Wolfcastle
                                                                                          William Wolfcastle  3 months back

                                                                                          I believe they were domesticated long before that if I believe they're domesticated long before that if only fossil evidence suggest that they were written across the landmass only accept from America to Europe it would devastated people's knowledge of Humanity starting in the Americas and not in the so-called old continent and if there is evidence they'll just ignore it

                                                                                          • William Wolfcastle
                                                                                            William Wolfcastle  3 months back

                                                                                            English Invaders Australia was already settled then by aboriginals the people of the dream time

                                                                                            • hey daddy
                                                                                              hey daddy  3 months back

                                                                                              Kindna sad