C is for Camel

Bactrian camel photo courtesy zsl.org.

There is an old British joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Attributable to Sir Alec Issigonis (who originated the Mini auto), the last laugh might be on Sir Alec if he tried to cross the Asian deserts with only horses. While horses did originate and thrive in the grasslands of Asia, the camels always ruled the dunes, whether the sand was in the Sahara, the Gobi, or even the deserts of Australia. A Mini wouldn’t last very long trying to cross the Silk Road. Camels–in particular the Bactrian camels–were the ships that sailed across the Asian deserts.

The camel has a single hump;
The dromedary, two;
Or else the other way around.
I’m never sure. Are you?

Ogden Nash

The mnemonic to separate the two types of domesticated camels, the Bactrian from the Dromedary, is pretty simple. “B” has two humps, whereas “D” has one. The problem is remembering the mnemonic. Maybe after this post, we’ll all just remember the difference.

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