Monday, March 26, 2012

Aguascalientia Camels

Aguascalientia Jawbone
Today we're going to talk about two very recently discovered animals, both from the same genus. Both also happen to be extinct, and have been for about 20 million years.

Meet Aguascalientia panamaensis and Aguascalientia minuta, the two oldest creatures to be found in the country of Panama. They are extinct Camels, but are not the ancestors to modern camels or llamas. They actually belong to a separate evolutionary tree that dead-ended. The two species are very alike to one another. They sport snouts that are much longer than those in modern camels, and an overall much smaller height. That also have shorter teeth, which suggest that they were browsers.

The genus that these Camels belonged to actually dates back more than 30 million years, but they lived further north. The Isthmus of Panama didn't even exist until about the time these two species lived, so the discovery sheds some light on animal movement through the newly joined continents of North and South America.

The Fossils were uncovered as part of a 5 year excavation that started in 2009. The story was only first published a month ago, so there is still much to learn about these ancient Camels.

Status : Extinct
Location : Panama
Size : Height up to 3ft (.9m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Camelidae -- Genus : †Aguascalientia

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