A research team led by the Canadian Museum of Nature reported the discovery of the first evidence of an extinct giant camel in Canada's High Arctic on Mar. 5, 2013, in the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers collected 30 fossil fragments of a leg bone from the Fyles Leaf Bed site on Ellesmere Island in three expeditions in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Digital files of the fossil fragments were created that allowed the scientists to assemble the fragments into a normalized bone pattern that resembled the tibia (largest lower leg bone) of cloven-hoofed animals known as arteriodactyls. Camels are arteriodactyls.
Collagen fingerprinting confirmed that the fossils were a camel and are most likely the same lineage as Paracamelus that is known to have inhabited North America as far back as 4.5 million years ago.
The camel was dated to 3.4 million years ago. The specimen is considered to be a dromedary (one hump camel) based on collagen comparisons with living camels and a fossil specimen from the Yukon.
This is the first camel fossil found in the Canadian High Arctic. The climate at the time the fossil camel died was between 14 and 22 degrees Celsius higher than at present.