Coat of fur on the camel 


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  Body temperatures of animals in hot environments such as the desert vary with the amount of insulation upon the surface of the animal (6). The body temperature of an animal does not increase as high as one might think when there is a barrier that prevents excessive heat gain. An example of this is how light clothes worn by humans can create an insulation layer and actually reduce the amount of heat gain (6). The camel has a similar heat barrier with its coat of fur. The thick fur of the camel can significantly reduce the amount of environmental heat gained, however there is a limit on how thick the fur can be and still be effective (6). The layer of fur can not be too thick or the metabolic heat of the camel would not be able to dissipate (6).                                                        
                                                                                                               
   The coat of fur not only limits the amount of heat gained in the body, but by doing so the camel can  also decrease the amount of water used to regulate its body temperature (6). Schmidt-Nielsen (1964) investigated the effects of fur on water regulation. He found that a shorn camel (A) will evaporate as much as 50% more water than a 
camel with a full coat of hair (B) as can be seen in the first graph on the left.  A comparison between camels with a coat of fur and those lacking in relation
to water retention. This graph came from Schimdit-Neilson, 1964. (6)
However, the camel originally with the full coat of fur (B) demonstrated a similar amount of water evaporation when it too was shaved as is shown in the second graph on the right.  This demonstrated that the fur on the camel does in fact play an important role in the water economy of the animal.   
    The camel actually possesses a double coat for the various seasons. In the spring, the camel will shed the top layer of it fur as it is merely a winter coat. A thick, dense layer of fur remains on the camel for the spring and summer months (12). One can infer that the coat of fur serves dual purposes. In the hot months, the single layer of fur is thick enough to prevent an excessive amount of external heat transfer. However, in the cooler months the camel uses its winter coat to prevent heat loss to the environment (12).  The fur of a camel may seem rather insignificant at first, but in reality it plays a major role in the thermoregulation and water control in the camel.
 


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