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|Figure 1 - Artist depiction of Paleoindians attacking |
Camelops with spears. Courtesy of www.blm.gov.
Two young bull camels came to the edge of the mud hole in the bottom of the canyon. These prehistoric mammals were massive, measuring as tall as a human at their shoulder and weighing over a half of a ton each. The camels’ white fur was coarse and the animals had only partially molted, leaving large patches of long, dirty fur on their bodies. The camels’ long tails swatted at the thick clouds of flies drawn to them and the rancid mud hole. Protruding from the middle of each camel’s back was a small hump. Under better conditions, the humps would store precious fat, but the humps of these camels sagged to the side, empty of fat, a sign of the animals’ starvation.
Camelops was one of six genera in the family Camelidae in North America and they existed on the western side of the continent while llamas existed from coast to coast. Since soft tissue is not preserved in the fossil records, scientists are not sure whether Camelops had a hump like modern day camels, or whether they looked more like their relative, the llama.
Both Camelops and llamas were common in North America up until the end of the Pleistocene when they went extinct with other large mammals we have discussed in other postings on this blog. Just like with the other large mammals that went extinct, there is no single reason identified as to why Camelops and llamas went extinct in North America. There are numerous prehistoric sites in North America where Camelops was associated with humans, but a kill site has yet to be discovered. We know that Camelops has been found associated with Clovis People (the Folsom People's ancestors), but in my book, I had Camelops survive long enough to have an encounter with Chayton and the Folsom People.
| Figure 3 - A paper-thin Folsom spear or dart point. This is |
projectile point type the Folsom People would have made
and used in Shadows on the Trail.
John Branney collection.
So what happens to the Camelops in Shadows on the Trail? I am not telling! You will just have to read the book to find out.
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