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Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus) Fact Sheet, 2009   Tags: extinct, fact sheet, fossil, llama, mammal, san diego zoo, sdzg  

Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus)
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus) Fact Sheet, 2009

Extinct large-headed llama

Extinct large-headed llama, Hemiauchenia macrocephalus

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: *Artiodactyla (even-toed hoofed animals; includes pigs, sheep goats, cattle, deer)

Family: Camelidae

Genus: Hemiauchenia

Species: Hemiauchenia macrocephala - Extinct Large-headed or Stilt-legged Camel

Body Weight
300 kg (661 lb)

Body Length
2.0 m (6.5 ft)


Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Florida, Texas, Great Plains states in U.S., and many countries in South America

Open, dry areas

Went extinct about 10,000 years ago

Like modern camels, adapted for a running lifestyle. Probably had the running pace gait unique to modern camels.

Social Groups
Not known, but may be similar to modern camels.

Browsing and grazing on plants and grasses

Possibly medium-to-large-sized sized cats and wolves

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Life stages
Teeth, bones, and skeleton size used to distinguish juvenile from adult individuals

Feature Facts

  • Similarities to modern camels
  • Some researchers speculate Hemiauchenia, like the gerenuk, had the ability to browse upright on hind legs
  • Several species of camels co-existed with Hemiauchenia, each most likely feeding in different places or on different plants

About This Fact Sheet

© 2009 San Diego Zoo Global

How to cite: Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus) Fact Sheet, 2009. c2009. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd].
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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