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GIANT CAMEL FOSSIL FOUND

Tuesday March 5th, 2013
GIANT CAMEL FOSSIL FOUND

A team of Canadian researchers have discovered a 3.6 million year old fossil of a giant camel on Ellesmere Island in the High Arctic. The find means that the previously known range of camels has been extended by 750 miles and suggests that the ancient ancestors of modern camels may well have originated in the Arctic forest environment.

Leader of the research team Dr Natalia Rybczynski, a vertebrate palaeontologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature, enlisted the help of Mike Buckley from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology to identify which species the fossilised bone came from. This was achieved by the use of collagen fingerprinting” technique, which meant the bone fragment had to be compared to 37 modern mammal species, as well as that of a fossil camel found in the Yukon.

Dr Buckley concluded that the collagen profile for the High Arctic camel fossil was virtually an identical match to today’s dromedary as well as the Ice-Age Yukon camel and that the animal was at least 30% bigger.

He told the press, “This is the first time that collagen has been extracted and used to identify a species from such ancient bone fragments.”
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