are members of the South American Camelid family ... which
includes the alpaca, guanaco and vicuna. Camelids originated
in the central plains of North America approximately 40
million years ago.
spread into South America 3 million years ago. By the
last ice age (11-12,000) they had become extinct in North
were domesticated in the Andean highlands of Peru 4-5,000
years ago, and primarily used as beasts of burden.