The well-preserved fossils were unearthed in a refuse pit located in the town of Tulln, Austria.
The researchers who found the camel skeleton said that the animal would have been truly exotic in those days and in that particular region.
Some of the scientists called the camel “a sunken ship in the desert.”
Alfred Galik, a scientist at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and one of the researchers involved in the discovery, explained that camels are like alien creatures in regions like Austria and European countries in general.
According to the experts who analyzed the camel’s bones, the animal had been a riding animal and not a beast of burden. The researchers said that the animal’s bones show no sign of arthritis, meaning that it was mostly used for riding.
The camel was actually a hybrid of two species of camels, the DNA analysis of the bones showed.
The animal’s father had been a Bactrian camel, which has two humps, and its mother was a dromedary camel, which has only one hump.
Galik said that the cross between the two different species of camels resulted in a camel with only one but large hump.
The researchers said that this kind of crossbreeding was not uncommon during that period. According to Galik the hybrid camels could be easier to handle, larger and more enduring than normal camels. The hybrid camels were usually used for military riding purposes.
Galik said that the camel was found in Tulln, Austria probably because it came with the Ottoman army when they were trying the attack the town.
The analysis of the bones revealed that the animal had not been butchered for eating purposes, probably because the townspeople did not know what a camel was.
The camel’s bones were found in a natural “post-death” position, with its legs pulled up toward the body and the neck bent upward. The animal was a male and it had been more than 7 years old at the time of death.
Image Source: dailysciencejournal