Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Saltwater drinking camel might be new species

By codemonkey_uk in News
Sat Feb 10, 2001 at 03:38:31 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A Chinese-British team of researchers working on the edge of the Tibetan mountains may have discovered a new species of wild camel that lives off saltwater.

The wild Bactrian camels were found in the middle of the inhospitable and dangerous Kum Tagh sand dunes in China's western Xinjiang province, which was used by China for nuclear weapons testing, and has been a "no-go" area since 1955.


"The remoteness of the area has helped preserve these camels, but with the cessation of nuclear tests, illegal hunters and miners looking for gold and iron ore are moving in. We found land mines put by the salt water springs. So when the camels come to drink, they step on them, bang. They are blown to pieces and picked up as meat." - UN researcher John Hare.
With fewer than 1,000 of the two-humped camels in Asia, they are more endangered than the giant panda.

It would be interesting to know how the camel's liver, kidneys and lungs can withstand drinking saltwater. The team leading the genetic tests on the camels is hoping to publish their results soon.

Source: ArcaMax Science News

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o ArcaMax Science News
o Also by codemonkey_uk


Display: Sort:
Saltwater drinking camel might be new species | 20 comments (10 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Drinking saltwater (3.80 / 5) (#1)
by nobbystyles on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 06:38:12 AM EST

Don't aquatic mammals such as dolphins, seals and whales dink saltwater? If so it is evolutionary trick that has ocurred a number of times.

No (4.33 / 3) (#2)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 06:57:05 AM EST

Dolphins DO NOT drink the ocean water, instead, they get their fresh water when they swallow their fish.

I assume the same applys to seals and whales.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Whales do get some from sea water (4.83 / 6) (#3)
by nobbystyles on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 07:36:01 AM EST

I was intrigued enough about the question to have a quick look on Google.Here's the link



[ Parent ]
New Species? (3.66 / 3) (#4)
by priestess on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 07:45:34 AM EST

You haven't provided an easilly accessable source for the idea that this camel's ability to drink salt water is what qualifies it as being a new species but a quick web search seems to indicate that it's far from unique among the animals. The Dromedary Camel can apparently drink salt water, and according to this page on the Bactrian Cammel, "Camels" in general can drink Brackish water.

A quick search for Brackish and Camel turns up lots of pages making the same claim.

Pre...........

----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
I don't know (2.66 / 3) (#5)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 08:46:53 AM EST

I just reported what I knew, which I thought was interesting. Perhaps the salt water they drink is significantly more salty that that which camels can normally drink. Or perhaps its something else which makes them a new species.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
genetics also point to a difference (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 08:59:07 AM EST

The NY Times article I read yesterday about this mentioned that researchers had found some differences in the genes of domestic bactrian camels and these wild ones.

[ Parent ]
link? (none / 0) (#11)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 09:06:41 AM EST

I didn't see that report. Can you provide a link to it?
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
nope (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 09:14:15 AM EST

It was in yesterday's headlines. Since I don't have a paid subscription, to search on old news and access old articles requires I pay, which I'm not willing to do.

I grepped through my Netscape cache and couldn't find anything.

Sorry.

[ Parent ]

I take that back (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 09:20:56 AM EST

I found the article under the life sciences section. Its a reuters article.

Rare Salt-Water Camel May Be Separate Species

Here's the blurb on genetics I (mis)remembered:

DNA tests have not yet been completed but U.N. environmentalists say other tests have shown there is a significant difference in the genetic make-up of the wild Bactrian from the domesticated.

The article also mentioned a rather interesting method of hunting wild camels, the use of land mines:

But they believe that up to 600 of the rare breed live in an uninhabited area that was used by China for nuclear testing over the last 41 years and are threatened by hunters who have moved into the region since testing ended in 1996.

``We found land mines put by the salt water springs,'' said John Hare, leader of the expedition and founder of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation.

``So when the camels come to drink they step on them, BANG! They are blown to pieces and picked up as meat.''

I suspect that this process makes butchering and gutting much easier. I'm not sure how safe it is though. On the other hand, I don't think there are all that many people that visit salt springs in the middle of a desert in China.



[ Parent ]
Nuclear testing (3.00 / 4) (#20)
by Aquarius on Sat Feb 10, 2001 at 03:26:04 AM EST

There seems to be, in reports of this story, a recurring sentence, along the lines of "these camels live in a no-go area that was used for nuclear testing". There's no attempt to draw any conclusions from this; it's merely stated, almost as a non-sequitur. I assume that we're intended to draw some conclusion from this...

Aq.

"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
Saltwater drinking camel might be new species | 20 comments (10 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!