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Inside Nature’s Giants: Camel

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 9:40am -- WCVE

Mark Evans and Joy Reidenberg brave the baking desert to dissect a camel, the ultimate desert survivor. They uncover the secret of the camel’s hump and investigate how its elastic legs, stretchy lips and pedestal (a strange bump on its chest) are among the many surprising adaptations that enable the camel to thrive in such a dry and hostile environment.

Other strange adaptations include an extension of its soft palate that can be inflated out of its mouth like a big red balloon. To female camels this is irresistible — particularly when the male covers his mouth with wads of white saliva. (The camel, if fully hydrated, will produce 80 liters of saliva per day.)

Richard Dawkins explores the history of the camel and other “invasive species” in Australia, and reveals its surprising origins in North America. And Simon Watt learns how to break in and ride a wild camel from champion camel-jockey Glenda Sutton. He discovers that although this animal does spit and kick – there’s much more to marvel at than its cantankerous reputation.

Watch Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS