The remains of an extinct species of giant camel have been discovered on Ellesmere Island in the Arctic region of Canada.
The creature was identified thanks to analysis of 30 fossilised fragments of leg bone, each around 3.5 million years old, placing them firmly in the mid-Pliocene. Additional evidence from the surrounding area allowed the research team to conclude that this was likely a High Arctic camel — a previously unknown species which lived in the forests of the Arctic during a global warm period.
“Camels originated in North America and dispersed to Eurasia via the Bering Isthmus, an ephemeral land bridge linking Alaska and Russia,” wrote the authors of the study, published in Nature Communications. “The results suggest that the evolutionary history of modern camels can be traced back to a lineage of giant camels that was well established in a forested Arctic.”