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: cepnet.mobi/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 • 906

  • 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.

  • Scott Andrews
    Scott Andrews  9 hours back

    Love these videos

    • parv
      parv  2 days back

      Do you not have enough distance between yourself & the camera that you would have to tuck in the elbows while gesturing?

      • Justin Bannister
        Justin Bannister  5 days back

        I remember going to a petting zoo in Nova Scotia Canada. They had a couple of camels. One was huge and it was a single hump. And he was bizarrely very friendly. He wanted petted all the time.

        • Ali Mahjoori
          Ali Mahjoori  5 days back

          8:35 correct pronounciation is "yama", but meh okay then

          • Alessio Leporati
            Alessio Leporati  5 days back

            Arabic easily has 1000 words for Camel English only has one and that word originally came from Arabic in etymology.

            • xXxSkyViperxXx
              xXxSkyViperxXx  5 days back

              camels, horses, and just about every pack animal started out in north america, yet when the native americans were roaming about and building empires and civilizations, they could not make use of them

              • steve154life
                steve154life  6 days back

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

                • Devn
                  Devn  7 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  1 weeks back

                    That sad camel in the snow! lmao

                    • Inland Islander
                      Inland Islander  1 weeks back

                      Who else hears Mega Tai Lopez? 😂

                      • Michael Hodge
                        Michael Hodge  2 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  3 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  3 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  3 weeks back

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

                              • hell is lit af
                                hell is lit af  3 weeks back

                                I wuv camels...

                                • Shane Dahlke
                                  Shane Dahlke  4 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  4 weeks back

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

                                    • Milton Roberts
                                      Milton Roberts  1 months 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  2 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  2 months back

                                          Show me that camel

                                          • Storm striker
                                            Storm striker  2 months back

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

                                            • Daybird Aviaries
                                              Daybird Aviaries  2 months back

                                              Your little proto looks like a mara.

                                              • Daybird Aviaries
                                                Daybird Aviaries  2 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  3 months back

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

                                                                              • Ruby Honey
                                                                                Ruby Honey  3 months back

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

                                                                                • Michael VanGundy
                                                                                  Michael VanGundy  3 months back

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

                                                                                  It's HUMP DAYYYYYYY!

                                                                                  • bingbird23
                                                                                    bingbird23  3 months back

                                                                                    This guys voice sounds pathetic.

                                                                                    • MALTA HIGH JACKER
                                                                                      MALTA HIGH JACKER  3 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  3 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  3 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

                                                                                      • haven adventurer
                                                                                        haven 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.