Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Colorful Canyon - 1/24/12
Camelops first appeared during the Late Pliocene period and became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. Its extinction was part of a larger North American die-off in which native horses, camelids and mastodons also died out. This megafaunal extinction coincided roughly with the appearance of the big game hunting Clovis culture, and biochemical analyses have shown that Clovis tools were used in butchering camels.
Because soft tissues are generally not preserved in the fossil record, it is not certain if Camelops possessed a hump, like modern camels, or lacked one, like its modern llama relatives. Camelops hesternus was seven feet (slightly over two meters) at the shoulder, making it slightly taller than modern Bactrian camels. Plant remains found in its teeth exhibit little grass, suggesting that the camel was an opportunistic herbivore; that is, it ate any plants that were available, as do modern camels.