The Arctic camel

What better way to celebrate ‘Hump Day’ than with a camel?

The camel in question is really an ex-camel; actually, it’s not even an entire ex-camel, but a few dozen bone fragments. It’s been dead for a terribly long time—an estimated three and a half million years, in fact.

All of which would be somewhat anticlimactic, if it weren’t that those chunks of very old bone were dug up in approximately the last place you’d expect to see a camel today: Ellesmere Island, in the Canadian High Arctic.

The CBC has the whole Ancient Arctic Camel story, and it’s a fascinating one: scientists believe the Arctic was once much, much warmer than it is today, and during that warm period, camels flourished on Ellesmere Island.

We suspect this hapless long-dead camel will be rapidly recruited to the post of mascot, by man-made climate change skeptics. They’ll use the camel to suggest global warming is the most natural thing in the world.

Intriguing as the camel fossil find is, when we visit the High Arctic, we’d rather see the polar bears of today, than the camels of yesteryear—or tomorrow.

Visit Ellesmere Island on our Out of the Northwest Passage trip, Aug. 20 – Sept. 5, 2013.

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