Iowa State University Veterinarian

Document Type



Six species of "camels" exist in the world today: the llama (Lama glama) and alpaca (Lama pacos) were domesticated in South America 4-5 thousand years ago, while the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) still exist in the wild. The more familiar bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) of Asia and the African dromedary camel (Camelus dromediarus) make up the balance of the camelids. The four species of South American camelids are ancestors of "llama-like" creatures that stalked North America in the Pliocene Epoch. As their resources depleted they moved south toward South America while their relatives, the camels, went east to Asia and Africa.