Friday, April 04, 2014

History of camelids

On the South-American continent, camelids are the largest wild herbivores. Camelids have served the needs of people for thousands of years and have provided them with food, fiber and fuel.

Camelids constitute a more reliable food source than agricultural crops because the herds are less influenced by local bad weather, except during the springtime birth seasons.

If a drought destroys a large portion of crops, camelids can survive because of their mobility and greater endogenous food reserves.

The Camelidae originated in western North American in the late Eocene, 40-45 million years ago and underwent millions of years of evolution before the appearance of the current species.

About two millions years ago camelids invaded the continents from North America over the Panama Bridge.

Domestication of South-American camelids has a history of between 6000 to 7000 years ago in Andes. Llama and alpacas were among the first recorded domesticated animals.

A remarkable increase in the camelids population occurred around this period, suggesting the establishment of predominantly herding economy.

Recent research also indicates that similar development occurred in a parallel in the region of the South-Central Andes of south Peru, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina.
History of camelids