What is the purpose of Camels’ Humps?

The fat stored in a camel’s hump allows it to traverse vast, barren stretches with minimal food and water.

Camels, those “desert schooners”, played a crucial role in trade and culture in the Middle East, Africa and Asia for literally thousands of years. They have been used as currency for the bride price, for transportation, freight, food and clothing. Certainly one of the most distinctive features of this very useful animal is the hump. What purpose do camel humps serve? Why do they exist?

Bactrian camels are seen most often in Asia, often in the Gobi Desert.

Camel humps are a punishment if we read the story “How the Camel Got Its Hump” by Rudyard Kipling. In this hilarious fable, Kipling paints a picture of an extremely lazy camel that would fail. His favorite word was “Humph”. When the chief djinn found out about the camel’s laziness, he went to see him and admonished him for being lazy. When the only answer he got was “Humph,” that’s what the camel got on his back: a big “humph” of his own, so he could go three days without food and catch up on work he hadn’t done.

Author Rudyard Kipling wrote a well-known fable about how the camel got its hump.

In the real world, camel humps serve just that purpose: camels can go long periods without eating. Camels humps are made of fat and support the animal during long periods of travel and with little food. They have other physiological characteristics that also help them to survive without eating or drinking, but camel humps are certainly the most visible.

See also  What is absinthe?

Camels’ humps and other adaptations have made them the animal of choice for desert travel for thousands of years, going places where no other vehicle or transport can go. The Bactrian camel is the most frequently seen two-humped variety in Asia and a traveler of the Gobi Desert. The dromedary camel with a hump is the animal that crosses the Sahara.

Since camel humps are made of fat, they provide immediate energy. In the past, camel humps were thought to help them stay hydrated, but this has been disputed as the animals would use a lot of energy to metabolize fat into water to be efficient. Instead, camels can drink up to 20 gallons (75.6 liters) of water at a time, and their bodies store this water for long periods.

Camel humps also signal the animal’s health and well-being. The hump begins to soften and shrink as the animal runs out of food, but when the camel eats and rests, the hump is soon restored. Camel humps are a notable feature that helps the animals adapt perfectly to their desert life.

Leave a Comment