Inside Nature's Giants: Camel
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Veterinary scientist Mark Evans and comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg head into the Australian Outback to explore the ultimate desert survivor: the camel. Over a million feral dromedaries roam the middle of this vast continent, introduced - then abandoned - by European settlers a century ago. Now, as their numbers continue to increase and they wreak havoc on the environment, the government has introduced a culling program.
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the killing of animals because of man's careless ability to manage these
herds of camels in the first place. It's man's stupidity that is the problem.
Not all solutions to problems can or should not be solved with a gun.
Australia has the one of the biggest deserts, the hottest deserts with the most populated camels on planet earth. Camel population in Australia grows one million each nine years. Originated from North America, yes North America, camels can go six months without a drink, can drink one hundred liter of water at a time since their red blood cells are oval and do not expand where in humans the red blood cells are round with a dent which clog up during dehydration and will explode with just over three litters of water consumption. Camels have a huge fat reserve which is their hump, designed to protect them from the extreme heat since all their organs are below that fat reserve unlike humans where their fat requires a lot of energy to upkeep and does nothing but harm when one is overweight. Camels have two expandable keratine gel pads on the bottom of each foot to balance their weight on uneven surfaces, have huge Achilles tendon in each leg which acts like rubber band anatomy which saves energy instead of using muscles which requires more energy when running. Camels do not sweat much; do not produce urine with any water in it, only waste when they have no access to water. Camel's body heat fluctuates six degrees where it will kill humans; recycle the water in their body continuously so they can go on for months with no access to water. Water in camel nose is turned into steam cooling the blood vessels that cover the turbinates and the cool blood runs deep into their skull and avoids the scorching desert heat from cooking their brain. Camel's population success is only a proof that evolution has prepared Mother Nature's creation so perfectly to thrive and live a happy life in such a harsh and hostile environment like Australia's deserts. A triumph of Darwinian evolution. What a documentary, bravo, bravo, bravo.
The good: The champion camel jockey is a petite, confident lady. She shows how she trains wild camels to be comfortable with her, and is a joy to watch. Richard Dawkins is erudite as he explains about camels, back in the studio, out of the sun. The video explains how camels can drink so much water, go without water for so long. AND, it explains what that hump is.
The funny: The farmer in the Australia "station" (huge ranch) where many camels live was a real character, with his biting sense of humor. When the team gets to the destination, he whips out a bottle of brandy and pours a stiff drink for the interviewer.
The silly: There were some pretty amusing video clips of camels biting a rider, throwing a rider, etc. One of the "stars" "races" against some camels, and then collects a pee sample from a camel, to compare the specific gravity with his own. One of the "stars" has a drinking contest with a camel, which the camel not surprisingly wins by an incredibly huge margin.
The bad: The end of the video more or less runs out of steam. It starts talking about obesity in the human population. Maybe I missed something, but the connection to camels seemed pretty weak to me. Then the credits started rolling.
The ugly: Dissecting the camel in the middle of the Australian outback was truly "gross anatomy". With little more than a sharp knife, the team cuts open the camel's mouth, slices a kidney in half, and removes all the intestines to get into the stomach. Meanwhile, flies are swarming and buzzing around like crazy, and one of the scientists seems a bit woozy from all the heat, blood, and odors. I guess it depends on your squeamishness level, just be forewarned. The video does warn up front about graphic imagery, related to the dissection.
Note: The camel IS killed (rifle shot), did not die of natural causes. But it was going to be killed anyway, as part of Australia's program to reduce the camel population. Camels are of course not native to Australia, but are well adapted to harsh conditions of the Australia outback. According to the DVD, about 1 million camels roam free in Australia at the time the DVD was made.
(The animals are not killed for the series!!!)