Discover the ‘camels of the New World’

When thinking about the Andes, many people picture snow-capped mountains, vast green plains, indigenous peoples …and herds of llamas. And yes, these are some of the main characteristics of the mountainous South American region – including those llamas. In fact, American llamas – and their close cousins (alpacas, guanacos and vicunas) – inhabit the immense and frigid plains along the entire mountain range. Possessing both beauty and elegance, with their thin necks and slender legs, they are placed in the same family as their more distant relative, the camel – from which they get the name “camelids.”

In fact, these South American camelids are the only relatives of the camel in existence today, which raises the question as to how they got to South America? There are several theories about this, though studies on the question remain incomplete. The best-known theory asserts that these animals first appeared in North

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