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ships of the desert

Ships of the Desert

Ships of the Desert: The body of the camel (or one-humped dromedary) perfectly adapted to the Sahara desert climate. Its air filter is perched on a long neck, keeping the nasal membranes about two meters above the desert surface, which can easily reach temperatures over 70°C. A glimpse at the condition of the hump permits a quick appraisal of the camel’s travel readiness – almost like a gasoline gauge. If the hump is full and firm, the beast is 100% ready to roll. Camel hooves are so broad that one could almost think of them as special sand tires and, with its full-time four-leg drive, the dromedary can leave even the most up-to-date rally jeep in the dust on the steep slopes of the Sahara desert dunes.

The camel hump

On the other hand, if it is sagging and limp, it is high time for the food and water troughs. The camel (Ships of the desert) hump consists of fat metabolically transformed into water when needed. One Kilogram of fat yields roughly one liter of water. The water balance is essential for life: the camel can recapture about 30% of the moisture in its exhaled breath thanks to specialized membranes and make it through two weeks without water if need be (humans last a full three days). Then, however, the beast can swill up to 135 liters of water in a short time. The most significant portion of the water is stored in the red blood cells, which then expand to 240 times their minimal volume. Certain bacteria in the camels’ intestines can absorb the nitrogen products that other mammals excrete through the urinary system.

The desert ship can save water in this manner since it does not need to eliminate as much urine. The two-legged members of a caravan are already quite close to the paradise of the huris with an increase of 3.5° C in their body to 9° without much problem, thus sweating less and saving coolant water. Their insensitive palates enable them to do much on the thorny desert brush without injury. They allow themselves to be ridden, carry loads of up to 200 Kilograms, and supply milk, meat, and wool. The Arabs explain the arrogant expression of the camel with the fact that this animal knows Allah’s hundredth name. 

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