Million-year-old Syrian camel fossil discovered

This video from the USA is about The Mammoth Site – Hot Springs, S. Dakota.

From The Independent in South Africa:

Million-year-old camel bone found

September 13 2008 at 03:28PM

Damascus, Syria – Archaeologists have unearthed a camel jawbone in Syria that might belong to an undiscovered tiny species of the desert-cruising animal and – at a million years old – be the oldest camel remains ever found.

The jawbone was uncovered last month near the village of Khowm in the Palmyra region, about 150 miles (250 kilometres) northeast of the capital, Damascus, said Heba al-Sakhel, one of the leaders of the team of Syrian and Swiss archaeologists.

Last year, the same mission discovered the bones of a giant camel in Syria dating back 100 000 years.

That animal, dubbed the “Syrian Camel” by its discoverers, stood between three and four metres tall – about twice the size of latter-day camels and the height at the shoulder of many African elephants.

The new find, along with the remains of the giant camel, could offer important clues about the animal’s evolution, the researchers said.

“It is a very important discovery,” said Jean-Marie Le Tensorer, who leads the Swiss side of the team.

He said it is the oldest camel bone to be unearthed in the Middle East and probably worldwide.

He added in an interview on Saturday that the camel appears to be very small and could be a new species but more studies were needed to confirm that.

“The camel is very small in comparison with the normal camel,” he said.

“But we have to find more bones, different remains, before we can be sure it is a new species.”

Le Tensorer said the find also confirms that the origin of the camel is the Arabian desert, from which it migrated to other parts of the world.

Le Tensorer says all these discoveries contribute to understanding the evolution of dromedaries and other members of the camel family.

“Until now, the evolution of camels has been absolutely unknown in the world,” Le Tensorer said.

“In central Syria, we have several sites with a long stratigraphic sequence – about 1 million years. We can see the evolution of these animals.”

He said the team is searching for more camel remains.

Al-Sakhel, who is also head of the Syrian National Museum, said the site is an archaeological treasure trove and contains many layers that are the oldest of the prehistoric era in Syria. – Sapa-AP

America’s 7-million-year old giant camel: here.

5 thoughts on “Million-year-old Syrian camel fossil discovered

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