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[The dromedary: ancestry, history of domestication and medical treatment in early historic times].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Institut für Paläoanatomie, Domestikationsforschung und Geschichte der Tiermedizin, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.


Research on camel bones from archaeological excavations in North Africa and the Near East contradict the current opinion in textbooks that the dromedary and the Bactrian camel are domesticated forms derived from a single species, the two-humped wild camel (C. ferus). The probable ancestor of the domestic one-humped camel is Thomas' camel (C. thomasi). The wild dromedary was probably domesticated on the Arabian peninsula, perhaps as early as the 4th millennium BC. From the 2nd millennium BC onward there is evidence for the use of the one-humped camel for riding and transport purposes. Camel-keeping also implied the therapy of diseased animals, the main source of information about their treatment being medieval arabic texts dealing with veterinary medicine. An expert of such an early 13th century text is presented and discussed. From this it can be seen that the medieval camel treatment fits the principles of the so-called humoral theory, a medical concept which at that time already existed for more than 1500 years.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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