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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dwindling Population of Bactrian Camels "Genetically Unique"

The precarious status of the Bactrian camel has been highlighted by a new genetic study.

An analysis by scientists in China and Inner Mongolia shows that wild Bactrian camels are distantly related to their domestic two-humped counterparts.

That reinforces the idea that the few hundred remaining wild Bactrian camels are unique, and should be kept separate from those in domestic herds.

Bactrians are the last remaining wild camels of any type. Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus) are huge animals that stand up to 2.3m tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 690kg.

Fewer than 1000 wild Bactrian camels survive in just a few areas in north-west China and south-west Mongolia.

link: BBC - Earth News - Wild camels 'genetically unique'


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