Syrian camel

Extinct in 90.000-100.000 years ago
  • Syrian camel
  • Syrian camel

Never kept in a zoo before but now in our LOST ZOO -The wild Dromedary from Syria

The ancestors of all modern camelids lived originally in North America Around 3–5 million years ago, they spread to South America via the Isthmus of Panama, where they gave rise to guanacos and vicunas, and via the Bering land bridge to Asia and Africa, where the wild Bactrian camel still exists in Asian Gobi Desert.

Site of Palmyra in Syria Working camels at the railroad construction in Syria

Site of Palmyra in Syria
(Click to view larger image).

Working camels at the railroad construction in Syria
(Click to view larger image).

Camelops, the last still existing North American camel became extinct around 11,000 years ago at the time when the first humans arrived on the continent. Possibilities for extinction include a global climate change and hunting pressure from the arrival of the Clovis people, the ancestors of all Central and South American Indians. They hunted game with spears being attached with a stone tool.

Mosaic Fragment with Grazing Camel, 5th century A.D. Camel fossil in North America

Mosaic Fragment with Grazing Camel, 5th century A.D.
(Click to view larger image).

Camel fossil in North America
(Click to view larger image).

Most camels existing today are domesticated forms. Dromedaries may have first been,domesticated by humans in Somalia and southern Arabia around 3,000 BC the Bactrian in central Asia around 2,500 BC. The only wild camels left are a few Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert. This wild Bactrian camel was kept in the 1980/90ies in the Beijing Zoo. This is the only zoo worldwide, which wild Bactrian camels ever kept.

Syrian Camel which was designed for a stamp Advertisement of “CAMEL” the cigarette in Syria

Syrian Camel which was designed for a stamp
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Advertisement of“CAMEL”the cigarette in Syria
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The scientists always discussed, if the dromedary and the domestic Bactrian have the same ancestor or if both breeds belong to different species. Because a wild camel in Africa was unknown and the most important difference between a dromedary and a Bactrian camel is only the number of humps. The Bactrian has always two humps and the dromedary one, but at embryonal stage also the dromedary has still two humps. Most scientists believed that the reduction of the second hump has been a breeding goal during the domestication and so the dromedary is a domestic breed of the wild Bactrian camel too.

Camels which was drawn in rock wall in Israel Camels drawn in 17century of syria” the cigarette in Syria

Camels which was drawn in rock wall in Israel
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Camels drawn in the 17 century in syria
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Size comparison Syrian camel and the others

Size comparison Syrian camel and the others(Click to view larger image).

But 10 years ago first fossils of a camel was found in the western Syrian desert, about 200km north of Damascus. This Syrian camel (Camelus moreli) was found to have existed around 100.000 years ago.) The Syrian camel is not only the first wild dromedary in the Middle East region and Africa, it is also a huge animal. This giant camel was as tall as some modern-day elephants and about twice the size of modern camel, measuring 3m tall at the shoulder and 4m tall overall. - The new camel species was found together with Middle Paleolithic human remains and stone tools used by early humans. The bones belong probably to the hunter of the giant camel. He obviously stalked his prey to a water spring where it came to drink.

Syrian camel enclosure in LOST ZOO

Syrian camel enclosure in LOST ZOO
(Click to view larger image).

Domestic camels appeared in the Middle East region only 5,000-7,000 years ago, but the Syrian camel is the first wild form in this region and much, much older than the earliest domestic breeds. For the scientists the Syrian camel could be the origin species for the modern domestic dromedary. Anyway, the Syrian camel is the proof that wild camels existed in this region and could be therefore domesticated independently from the Bactrian camel in Asia
We are proud that our LOST ZOO keeps this huge and very rare Syrian camel. With the husbandry of this species, our LOST ZOO is now the second zoo in the world.which ever kept a wild camel species

Executive Curator
JURGEN LANGE

Never kept in a zoo before, the Syrian camel

Like all Old World’s camels, also the Syrian camel emigrated originally from North America over the Bering land bridge to Asia and Africa. For thousands of years the wild dromedary was only known on rock paintings of the old indigenous people in Africa and the Middle East. But in 2006 the Syrian camel, a wild dromedary, was found in the Syrian Desert near Damascus. Perhaps it is the ancestor of all domestic dromedaries, which are kept today in dry areas of Africa, the Middle East and Australia.

Shoulder height: over 300 cm

Total height: 400 cm

Body weight: about 1.000 kg

Body weight: 4-6 tons

Habitat: Restricted on arid and semi-arid regions in Arabia and the Middle East.

Extinction: Between 90.000 and 100.000 years ago.

Animal Exhibition
Syrian camel