Origin And Domestication

Fossil records trace early evolution of Camelidae in North America. The predecessors of Camelus migrated to the Old World by the Bering Straits into Eurasia in the Pliocene to early Pleistocene. Others migrated from North America to South America about this time and became the founders of the South American camelids. Camelidae became extinct in North America, possibly due to overhunting, 12,000 14,000 years ago.

Recent studies on phylogenetic divergences between dromedary and domestic Bactrian camels postulate speciation of their ancestors in the early Pliocene prior to migration from North America to Eurasia, accommodating the hypothesis of separate domestications of dromedary in ancient Arabic territory and Bactrian camel in central Asia 4000 5000 years ago.[1,2] Genetic distinctions between the wild and domestic Bactrian camels portray them as reciprocally monophyletic, recognizing the wild Bactrian camels as an independent taxonomic unit.[2,3] Wild Bactrian camels, with fewer than 900 survivors in northwestern China and southwestern Mongolia, have been included on the United Nations' (UN) list of the most threatened species since September 2002.[4] Archaeozoological and genetic evidence favors independent domestications of llama from guanaco and alpaca from vicuna supposedly 6000 7000 years ago in the Peruvian puna. Today guanacos remain in the wild in Chile and Argentina, whereas vicunas survive in Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador under protection.1-5,6-1

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