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Il cammello (Camelus bactrianus Linnaeus, 1758) è un mammifero della famiglia dei Camelidi .
Alto circa 2 metri, diffuso in Asia centrale, è utilizzato per la carne, il grasso, il latte, la lana e come animale da trasporto. Un antenato del cammello vivente in Nordamerica era l'Aepycamelus.
Quasi tutti i cammelli sono oggi animali domestici ma in Mongolia, e in particolare nel deserto del Gobi, vi sono circa 800 esemplari selvatici, per questo è stato inserito nella lista rossa IUCN delle specie minacciate.
Il verso del cammello è il Rummel.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BactrianCamel_%281%29.jpg
Fra gli Artiodattili è uno delle specie più grandi. Può raggiungere i 3-4 metri di lunghezza, l'altezza da terra alla punta della gobba raggiunge anche i 2-3 metri e pesa in media 400-500 kg.
Si distingue dal suo parente più prossimo, il dromedario (Camelus dromedarius), per la presenza di due gobbe sul suo dorso, che contengono una riserva di grasso. Rispetto al dromedario ha un pelame più folto, che diventa particolarmente lungo nella zona inferiore del collo.
Distribuzione e habitat
Il cammello vive nelle zone desertiche e steppose dell'Asia centrale, tra l'Anatolia e la Mongolia. Il nome scientifico ("Bactrianus") gli fu dato da Carl von Linné nel 1758 perché lo riteneva originaria della Battriana, una regione fra l'Afghanistan e l'Uzbekistan.
[modifica] Presenza in Italia
Introdotto in Italia fin dall'epoca romana come animale da soma, da guerra e da circo, fu utilizzato saltuariamente fino al Settecento. Attualmente allevato solo all'interno di parchi faunistici e circhi.
I cammelli vivono di solito in branchi di una ventina di esemplari con a capo un maschio.
Animale forte e resistente, è in grado di trasportare carichi fino a 450 kg. Per diversi giorni, circa 20, sopporta bene la mancanza di cibo e d'acqua, usando le gobbe piene di grasso quali riserve.
Può camminare fino a ca. 24 ore consecutive, ad una velocità massima di 4 km orari percorrendo fino a ca. 50 km al giorno. Come riserva idrica può bere anche 150 litri d'acqua. Sopporta escursioni termiche da -20 °C a oltre 50 °C. La gestazione dei cammelli dura 13 mesi e partoriscono di solito un solo piccolo.
La specie è considerata in pericolo critico in base ai criteri della IUCN.
La Zoological Society of London, in base a criteri di unicità evolutiva e di esiguità della popolazione, considera Camelus ferus una delle 100 specie di mammiferi a maggiore rischio di estinzione.
Negli ultimi anni questa specie viene utilizzata anche a scopo ornamentale ed allevata all'interno di parchi ed aziende agricole o agrituristiche. Un esempio è certamente il parco di Santa Paolina ad Osimo, nelle Marche, dove questi animali si sono acclimatati perfettamente.[senza fonte]
^ D.E. Wilson; D.M. Reeder, Camelus bactrianus. In Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 3rd edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4
^ Carovana di Cammelli nei pressi di Policoro (Basilicata), da: "Voyage pittoresque ou Description des Royaumes de Naples et de Sicilie", Jean-Claude Richard de Saint-Non Paris, La Fosse, 1777
D.E. Wilson; D.M. Reeder, Camelus bactrianus. In Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 3rd edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4
Hare, J. 2008. Camelus bactrianus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Versione 2010.1
Camelus bactrianus sul sito del progetto EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) - Zoological Society of London
De Grossi Mazzorin, Jacopo (2006) Cammelli nell'antichità: le presenze in Italia In: Studi di archeozoologia in onore di Alfredo Riedel. Dipdruck, Bolzano, IT, pp. 231-242.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia, and Bactrian camels are native to Central and East Asia. Both species are domesticated; they provide milk and meat, and are working animals.
The term camel (from the Arabic جمل, ǧml, derived from the triconsonantal root signifying "beauty") is also used more broadly to describe any of the six camel-like creatures in the family camelidae: the two true camels, and the four South American camelids: the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña.
The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A fully grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in)[clarification needed] at the hump. The hump rises about 30 in (76.20 cm) out of its body. Camels can run at up to 65 km/h (40 mph) in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).
Fossil evidence indicates that the ancestors of modern camels evolved in North America during the Palaeogene period (see also Camelops), and later spread to most parts of Asia. The people of ancient Somalia or the Kingdom of Punt first domesticated camels well before 2000 BC.
Distribution and number
The 14 million dromedaries alive today are domesticated animals (mostly living in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Maghreb, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent). The Horn region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world, where the dromedaries constitute an important part of local nomadic life. They provide peripatetic Somali and Ethiopian people with milk, food and transportation.
The Bactrian camel is now reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, mostly domesticated. It is thought that there are about 1,000 wild Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.
There is a substantial feral population of dromedaries estimated at up to 1,000,000 in central parts of Australia, descended from individuals introduced as transport animals in the 19th century and early 20th century. This population is growing at approximately 8% per year. The government of South Australia has decided to cull the animals using aerial marksmen, because the camels use too much of the limited resources needed by sheep farmers. For more information, see Australian feral camel.
A small population of introduced camels, dromedaries and Bactrians survived in the Southwest United States until the second half of the 20th Century. These animals, imported from Turkey, were part of the U.S. Camel Corps experiment and used as draft animals in mines and escaped or were released after the project was terminated. A descendant of one of these was seen by a backpacker in Los Padres National Forest in 1972. Twenty-three Bactrian camels were brought to Canada during the Cariboo Gold Rush.
Camels do not store water in their humps as is commonly believed. The humps are actually a reservoir of fatty tissue. Concentrating body fat in their humps minimizes heat-trapping insulation throughout the rest of their body, which may be an adaptation to living in hot climates. When this tissue is metabolized, it acts as a source of energy, and yields more than 1 g of water for each 1 g of fat converted through reaction with oxygen from air. This process of fat metabolization generates a net loss of water through respiration for the oxygen required to convert the fat.
A camel's thick coat is one of their many adaptations that aid them in desert-like conditions.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Camel_portrait.jpg
Their ability to withstand long periods without water is due to a series of physiological adaptations. Their red blood cells have an oval shape, unlike those of other mammals, which are circular. This facilitates their flow in a dehydrated state. These cells are also more stable in order to withstand high osmotic variation without rupturing when drinking large amounts of water (100 litres (22 imp gal; 26 US gal) to 150 litres (33 imp gal; 40 US gal) in one drink). Oval red corpuscles are not found in any other mammal, but are present in reptiles, birds, and fish.
Camels are able to withstand changes in body temperature and water consumption that would kill most other animals. Their temperature ranges from 34 °C (93 °F) at night and up to 41 °C (106 °F) during the day, and only above this threshold will they begin to sweat. The upper body temperature range is often not reached during the day in milder climatic conditions, and therefore, the camel may not sweat at all during the day. Evaporation of their sweat takes place at the skin level, not at the surface of their coat, thereby being very efficient at cooling the body compared to the amount of water lost through perspiration.
A feature of their nostrils is that a large amount of water vapor in their exhalations is trapped and returned to their body fluids, thereby reducing the amount of water lost through respiration.
They can withstand at least 20-25% weight loss due to sweating (most mammals can only withstand about 15% dehydration before cardiac failure results from circulatory disturbance). A camel's blood remains hydrated, even though the body fluids are lost, until this 25% limit is reached.
Camels eating green herbage can ingest sufficient moisture in milder conditions to maintain their bodies' hydrated state without the need for drinking.
A camel's thick coat reflects sunlight, and also insulates it from the intense heat radiated from desert sand. A shorn camel has to sweat 50% more to avoid overheating. Their long legs help by keeping them further from the hot ground. Camels have been known to swim.
Their mouth is very sturdy, able to chew thorny desert plants. Long eyelashes and ear hairs, together with sealable nostrils, form a barrier against sand. Their gait and their widened feet help them move without sinking into the sand.
The kidneys and intestines of a camel are very efficient at retaining water. Urine comes out as a thick syrup, and their feces are so dry that they can fuel fires.
All camelids have an unusual immune system. In all mammals, the Y-shaped antibody molecules consist of two heavy (or long) chains along the length of the Y, and two light (or short) chains at each tip of the Y. Camels also have antibody molecules that have only two heavy chains, which makes them smaller and more durable. These heavy chain-only antibodies, which were discovered in 1993, probably developed 50 million years ago, after camelids split from ruminants and pigs, according to biochemist Serge Muyldermans.
The karyotypes of different camelid species have been studied earlier by many groups, but no agreement on chromosome nomenclature of camelids has been reached. The most recent study used flow-sorted camel chromosomes building undoubtedly the camel's karyotype (2n=74) that consists of one metacentric, three submetacentric and 32 acrocentric autosomes. The Y is a small metacentric chromosome, while the X is a large metacentric chromosome.
According to molecular data, the New World and Old World camelids diverged 11 MYA. In spite of this, these species turned out to be conserved sufficiently to hybridize and produce live offspring(cama). The dromedary-guanaco inter-specific hybrid provided the ideal platform to compare the karyotypes of Old World and New World camels.
The cama is a camel/llama hybrid bred by scientists who wanted to see how closely related the parent species were. The dromedary is six times the weight of a llama, hence artificial insemination was required to impregnate the llama female (llama male to dromedary female attempts have proven unsuccessful). Though born even smaller than a llama cria, the cama had the short ears and long tail of a camel, no hump and llama-like cloven hooves rather than the dromedary-like pads. At four years old, the cama became sexually mature and attracted to llama and guanaco females. A second cama (female) has since been produced using artificial insemination. Because camels and llamas both have 74 chromosomes, scientists hope that the cama will be fertile. If so, there is potential for increasing size, meat/wool yield and pack/draft ability in South American camels. The cama apparently inherited the poor temperament of both parents as well as demonstrating the relatedness of the New World and Old World camelids.
Dromedary-Bactrian hybrids are called bukhts, are larger than either parent, have a single hump and are good draft camels. The females can be mated back to a Bactrian to produce ¾-bred riding camels. These hybrids are found in Kazakhstan.
Since at least 1200 BC, the first camel saddles appeared, and Bactrian camels could be ridden. The first Arabian saddle was put way to the back of the camel, and control of the Bactrian camel happened by means of a stick. However it wasn't until between 500-100 BC that Bactrian camels finally attained a military use. These new saddles were put over the humps of the animal, and they were also inflexible and bent, dividing the weight sufficiently over the animal. In the seventh century B.C., the military Arabian saddle then appeared, which improved the saddle design again slightly.
Camel cavalry have been used in wars throughout Africa, the Middle East and into modern-day India. Armies have also used camels as freight animals instead of horses and mules.
In the East Roman Empire the Romans used auxiliary forces known as Dromedarii, whom they recruited in desert provinces. The camels were mostly used in combat because of their ability to scare off horses at close ranges, a quality famously employed by the Achaemenid Persians when fighting Lydia, although the Persians usually used camels in baggage trains for arrows and equipment.
19th and 20th centuries
The United States Army established the U.S. Camel Corps, which was stationed in California in the 19th century. One may still see brick stables at the Benicia Arsenal in Benicia, California, where they serve as artists' and artisans' studio spaces. During the American Civil War, camels were used at an experimental stage, but were not used any further, as they were unpopular with the men. Some escaped and their descendants roamed the arid parts of the American West until as late as the early 20th century.
France created a méhariste camel corps as part of the Armée d'Afrique in the Sahara from 1902, replacing regular units of Algerian spahis and tirailleurs earlier used to patrol the desert boundaries. The camel-mounted units remained in service until the end of French rule in 1962. The French transferred the French personnel to other units and disbanded the locally recruited méharistes.
In 1916, during World War I, the British created the Imperial Camel Corps, which was a brigade-sized military formation that fought in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. It comprised infantry mounted on camels for movement across desert. In May 1918 the Corps was reduced in strength to a single battalion and was formally disbanded in May 1919. Also during World War I, the British Army created the Egyptian Camel Transport Corps, which consisted of a group of Egyptian camel drivers and their camels. The Corps supported British war operations in the Sinai desert, Palestine and Syria by transporting supplies to the troops.
The Somaliland Camel Corps was a unit of the British Army based in British Somaliland from the early 20th century until the 1960s.
The Bikaner Camel Corps was a military unit from India that fought for the Allies in World War I and World War II.
The Tropas Nómadas (Nomad Troops) were an auxiliary regiment of Sahrawi tribesmen serving in the colonial army in Spanish Sahara (today Western Sahara). Operational from the 1930s until the end of the Spanish presence in the territory in 1975, the Tropas Nómadas were equipped with small arms and led by Spanish officers. The unit guarded outposts and sometimes conducted patrols on camelback.
Camel meat is halal for Muslims, however according to some Islamic schools of thought, a state of impurity is brought on by the consumption of it. Consequently, they hold that Muslims must perform wudhu before praying.
There are Islamic traditions that allow the drinking of urine for medicinal purposes. However, these traditions have varying levels of authentication within Islamic scholarship.
Also, some Islamic schools of thought consider it haraam for a Muslim to perform salah in places where camels lie as it is said to be a dwelling place of shaytan.
According to Jewish tradition, camel meat and milk are not kosher. Camels possess only one of the two Kosher criteria; although they chew their cud, they do not possess cloven hooves (See: Taboo food and drink).
“ Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that only chew the cud, or of them that only part the hoof: the camel, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you.Leviticus 11:4
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