The wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) is a critically endangered species of camel living in parts of northern China and southern Mongolia. It is closely related to the domesticated Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus). They are both large, even-toed ungulates native to the steppes of central Asia, with a double hump (small and pyramid-shaped). Until recently, wild Bactrian camels were considered to have descended from domesticated Bactrian camels that became feral after escaping from captivity or being returned to the wild. However, a 1.9% difference in mitochondrial DNA suggests a divergence date of 0.7 to 1.5 million years ago, long before the start of domestication. While previously considered to be a subspecies (Camelus bactrianus ferus) of the Bactrian camel, the latest research establishes the wild Bactrian camel as a separate species from the domesticated Bactrian camel due to its distinct genetic makeup. It is restricted in the wild to remote regions of the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts of Mongolia and Xinjiang.




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