The two-humped camel (Camelus bactrianus): new light on its distribution, management and medical treatment in the past

Authors

  • Joris Peters,

    1. Institut für Palaeoanatomie, Domestikationsforschung und Geschichte der Tiermedizin, Universität München, Feldmochinger Straβe 7, D-80992 München, Germany
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  • Angela von den Driesch

    1. Institut für Palaeoanatomie, Domestikationsforschung und Geschichte der Tiermedizin, Universität München, Feldmochinger Straβe 7, D-80992 München, Germany
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Abstract

Eastern and north-eastern Iran and the adjacent Kopet Dagh foothills in south-western Turkmenistan have been postulated to be the region where the domestication of the two-humped camel took place. However, none of the evidence so far brought forward for in situ domestication in this area holds up to closer serutiny. Moreover, the postpleistocene distribution of the wild camel (Csmelus ferus) did not include Central Asia. Consequently, we claim that the region where the two-humped camel was domesticated must lie further to the east.

Among the peoples with a long-standing tradition in camel husbandry are the Chinese, as is illustrated by the antiquity of the texts on camel diseases and their treatment. In this contribution, the oldest camel treatise handed down in literature is presented and discussed.

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