[How Many Humps Does a Camel Have?]
Kasalukuyang nag-a-almusal ako kasama ang ilang katrabaho nang ipakita sa TV ang mga kamelyo sa disyerto ng Asya. Naitanong tuloy sa akin ng isang kasamahan kung ilan nga raw ba ang umbok sa likod ng kamelyo, at kung may mga kamelyo bang walang umbok sa likuran.
How many humps? I said, one or two, depending on which of the two species of camels he is referring to. Furthermore, there are no humpless camels. The South American humpless relatives of the camel are more correctly known as the humpless camelids.
The True Camels
Camels are hoofed mammals within the family Camelidae under genus Camelus, distinctive for the humps on their backs which contain fatty deposits. The two species of camels are the dromedary or Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius), which has a single hump; and the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), which has two humps. The dromedary is native to the dry desert areas of West Asia, while the Bactrian camel is to the Central and East Asia. Both species are domesticated to provide milk and meat; they are used also as beasts of burden.
The Humpless Camelids
Some people use the term camel to refer also to the four South American relatives of the true camels such as the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña. This is taxonomically imprecise. Only the dromedary and the Bactrian camel should be called camels. The humpless llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña each belongs to a genus of its own, although these four plus the dromedary and the Bactrian camel may all be called camelids because all belong to the family Camelidae of hoofed mammals.
The llama (Lama glama) is a South American camelid, widely used for its meat and as a pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times. Originally from the central plains of North America, llamas migrated to South America about three million years ago. Due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, over 100,000 llamas now inhabit the US and Canada.
The alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid that resembles a small llama in appearance. Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile. They are bred specifically for their fiber.
The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a wild camelid native to the arid, mountainous regions of South America and is found also in the high plains of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina. Guanaco fiber is particularly prized for its soft, warm feel and is found in luxury fabric. However, the guanaco’s soft wool is valued second only to that of the vicuña.
The vicuña or vicugna (Vicugna vicugna) is another wild South American camelid that lives in the high alpine areas of the Andes. Vicuñas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, making this very expensive especially that the vicuña can be shorn only every three years.
Sa Madaling Salita
Kapag sinabing ‘camel’ o kamelyo, dalawa lamang ang pinatutungkulan niyan: ang ‘dromedary,’ na isa ang umbok sa likuran; at ang Bactrian, na may dalawang umbok. Ang llama, alpaca, guanaco, at vicuña—na pawang mga walang umbok sa likuran—ay mas tamang tawaging ‘humpless camelids.’
Or, in Simple Words
The term camel refers to the one-humped dromedary and the two-humped Bactrian camel. The llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña are better known as the humpless camelids.