Bactrian Camel

Bactrian Camel

name = Bactrian Camel
status = CR
status_system = iucn3.1
trend = down

image_caption = Bactrian Camel
image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
familia = Camelidae
genus = "Camelus"
species = "C. bactrianus"
binomial = "Camelus bactrianus"
binomial_authority = Linnaeus, 1758

range_map_width = 230px
range_map_caption = Range of the domestic Bactrian Camel

The Bactrian Camel ("Camelus bactrianus") is a large even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of north eastern Asia. It is one of the two surviving species of camel. The Bactrian Camel has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped Dromedary Camel. [The mnemonic that allows you to remember the correct English word for each is this: "Bactrian" begins with "B", and "Dromedary" begins with "D" -- and "B" on its side has two humps, whilst "D" on its side has only one hump.]

Nearly all of the estimated 1.4 million Bactrian Camels alive today are domesticated, but in October 2002 the estimated 950 remaining in the wild in northwest China and Mongolia were placed on the critically endangered species list. [IUCN2007|assessors=Hare|year=2007|id=63543|title=Camelus ferus|downloaded=31 January 2008 Database entry includes justification for why this species is critically endangered]


It is thought that the Bactrian Camel was domesticated (independently from the dromedary) sometime before 2500 BC,"camel." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 11 Feb. 2007 < [] >.] probably in northern Iran, Northeast Afghanistan,"camel." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 11 Feb. 2007 < [] >.] or southwestern Turkestan. [ [] ] The dromedary is believed to have been domesticated between 4000 BCE and 2000 BCEAl-Swailem et al. 2007. Classification of Saudi Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius) subtypes based on RAPD technique.Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment Vol.5 (1) : 143-148. [ Online pdf] ] in Arabia. The wild population of Bactrian Camels was first described by Nikolai Przhevalsky in the late 19th century.

Bactrian Camels have been the focus of artwork throughout history. For example, western foreigners from the Tarim Basin and elsewhere were depicted in (618&ndash;907).


There is some evidence that the Bactrian Camel can be divided up into different subspecies. In particular, it has been discovered that a population of wild Bactrian Camel lives within a part of the Gashun Gobi region of the Gobi Desert. This population is distinct from domesticated herds both in genetic makeup and in behavior.

There are possibly as many as three regions in the genetic makeup that are distinctly different from domesticated camels and there is up to a 3% difference in the base genetic code. However, with so few wild camels, it is unclear what the natural genetic diversity within a population would have been.

Canadian researcher William Sommers found that these wild camels had the ability to drink saltwater slush, although it is not yet certain the camel can extract useful water from it. Domesticated camels do not attempt to drink salt water, though the reason is unknown.


The Bactrian Camel was identified as one of the top-10 "focal species" in 2007 by the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) project. [Cite news | title = Protection for 'weirdest' species | url = | date = 2007-01-16 | accessdate = 2007-05-22 | work = BBC] EDGE identifies species that are evolutionarily distinct and need better protection to prevent extinction. The Bactrian Camel was placed in the top-10 along with Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew, Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna, Hispaniolan Solenodon, Yangtze River dolphin, Slender loris, Hirola, Pygmy Hippo, Bumblebee bat, and the Long-eared Jerboa.Cite web | url = | title = Hexaprotodon liberiensis | work = EDGE Species | accessdate = 2007-07-31Dead link|date=October 2008] There are only hundreds of them in the wild and the population is decreasing, but a large captive population had been kept.



External links

*EDGE of Existence [ "(Camelus bactrianus)"] Dead link|date=October 2008 - Saving the World's most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species
* [ National Geographic] - Wild Bactrian Camels Critically Endangered
* [ Wild Camel Protection Foundation]
* [ BBC] - Discovery of camels in the Gashun Gobi region

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bactrian camel — Bactrian Bac tri*an, a. Of or pertaining to Bactria in Asia. n. A native of Bactria. [1913 Webster] {Bactrian camel}, the two humped camel. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bactrian camel — n. a camel (Camelus bactrianus) with two humps, native to central Asia: it is shorter, heavier, and hairier than the Arabian camel …   English World dictionary

  • Bactrian camel — ► NOUN ▪ the two humped camel, native to central Asia. ORIGIN named after Bactria, an ancient empire in central Asia …   English terms dictionary

  • Bactrian camel — UK [ˌbæktrɪən ˈkæm(ə)l] / US noun [countable] Word forms Bactrian camel : singular Bactrian camel plural Bactrian camels a camel from Asia with two humps on its back …   English dictionary

  • Bactrian camel — dvikupris statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Camelus bactrianus angl. Bactrian camel; wild camel vok. Trampeltier; zweihöckriges Kamel rus. бактриан; двугорбый верблюд; дикий двугорбый верблюд; хабтагай… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • Bactrian camel — noun two humped camel of the cold deserts of central Asia • Syn: ↑Camelus bactrianus • Hypernyms: ↑camel …   Useful english dictionary

  • Bactrian camel — noun Date: 1609 camel 1b …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Bactrian camel — an Asian camel, Camelus bactrianus, having two humps on the back: an endangered species. Cf. dromedary. [1600 10] * * * …   Universalium

  • Bactrian camel — noun The camel with two humps, Camelus bactrianus, native to the steppes of Asia …   Wiktionary

  • Bactrian camel — Bac|tri|an cam|el [ ,bæktriən kæml ] noun count a CAMEL from Asia with two HUMPS on its back …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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