El Dershaby

Why a camel has humps

There are some things in life that we just grow up believing. We don’t know where we learn such facts but they are inbuilt in us and when we find out they are false our whole world shatters. The great wall of China is the only man-made structure you can see from space. This is a fact that everyone knows and it just so happens to be a lie. You can’t see the great wall of China from space without some amazing magnification tools and even then you would need near-perfect conditions. What about a camel’s humps? They are used to store water right? Wrong. Read on to find out the truth about a camel’s humps.

Although almost everyone believes that a camel holds water in its humps, it is just not true. The humps are actually used to store fatty tissue. These humps then act as a source of nourishment when food is scarce.

The common misconception comes from the fact that camels are able to survive long periods without water. A camel achieves this because of the shape of its blood cells, not the shape of its humps. A camel’s blood cells are oval-shaped meaning they can drink more water in one sitting  (around 30 gallons) due to their elastic nature. They also make blood flow more easily when water is running low. 

So why do camels even have humps? The reason is that most animals have stores of fatty tissue for nourishment but they have it spread around their body (think of a large cow) but if a camel had this it would overheat in the desert. The humps are a way to store fatty tissue without overheating the body. At night when it starts to cool they are able to use the fatty tissue to dissipate heat through their entire body to stay warm. Amazing!