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Described by Charles Darwin as “an elegant animal, with a long, slender neck and fine legs”, the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is the largest wild member of the camelid family in South America and is believed to be the ancestor of the domestic llama. The woolly coat is a light fawn brown on top, with white undersides and a gray to black head, and the area around the lips, the edges of the ears and the insides of the legs are also white. Like other camelids, the guanaco walks on enlarged sole pads, with only the tips of the hooves touching the ground; in the guanaco these pads are moveable and help give grip on rocky and gravelly terrain. Four subspecies of guanaco have been described in the past, based on differences in skull measurements, coat coloration and body size.




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