London, September 15 : A team of Syrian and Swiss archaeologists has unearthed what they believe may be the oldest camel remains ever found.
The excavators say that they have found a million years old camel jawbone in Syria, which may belong to an undiscovered tiny species of the desert-cruising animal.
Heba al-Sakhel, one of the team leaders, has revealed that the discovery was made last month near the village of Khowm in the Palmyra region, about 150 miles northeast of the capital, Damascus.
This is the same team of archaeologists that unearthed the bones of a giant camel in Syria, dating back 100,000 years, last year.
Dubbing their find the Syrian Camel, the discoverers described it as an animal that stood between three and four metres tall, about twice the size of latter-day camels and the height at the shoulder of many African elephants.
The researchers say that the new find, along with the remains of the giant camel, may provide significant clues about the animal's evolution.
"It is a very important discovery," the Scotsman quoted Jean-Marie Le Tensorer, who leads the Swiss side of the team, as saying.
He believes that new find might be the oldest camel bone to be unearthed in the Middle East, or even in the world.
Though he believes that the camel may be a new species, the researcher insists that further research was needed to confirm this suggestion.
"The camel is very small in comparison with the normal camel. But we have to find more bones, different remains, before we can be sure it is a new species," he said.
Le Tensorer said that the discovery indicated that the origin of the camel was the Arabian desert, from where it migrated to other parts of the world.
He said that all the discoveries contributed to understanding the evolution of dromedaries and other members of the camel family.