THE HISTORY OF ALPACA
45-40 MILLION YEARS AGO
Alpacas are a domesticated member of the Camelidae family, which first appeared in the Americas 45-40 million years ago. From the common ancestor, the Protylopus, two camelid tribes emerged over millions of years: the Camelini and Lamini. Members of the Camelini tribe headed east, to Asia and Africa, while the Lamini family moved south, towards South America. The Lamini genus Hemiauchenia, a common ancestor of the South American camelids, migrated to South America about 2-5 million years ago, splitting into Palaeolama and Lama. The Lama tribe then split further into a further two groups, Vicuna and Guanaco. Both tribes still live in the wild in the Andes today, the former mostly in Bolivia, Peru and Northern Chile, the latter in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia.