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Rama The Cama
Scientists in the United Arab Emirates recently announced the first-ever cross between a camel and its ancient cousin, the llama, through artificial insemination techniques that took two years to perfect.
The result is Rama the "Cama", a male born in January with a birth weight of 12 lbs. His mom was a 165-lb. llama and his dad a 990-lb. camel.
"We hope it'll have the best qualities of both animals," Dr. Lulu Skidmore, a camel reproduction specialist in Dubai, told the Associated Press. "In size it's somewhere between a camel and a llama."
Rama has the short ears and long tail of a camel, but the cloven hooves of a llama. He was also born without a camel's hump.
Skidmore said the cama should have the prized fleece of the llama, but because of its larger size, should give more wool.
"In temperament, it should also be calmer than a camel, and therefore better suited as a track animal," she said.
Both the camel and the llama descended from a species that lived about 30 million years ago. (Associated Press)

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1998 - Volume #22, Issue #2