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Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus) Fact Sheet: Summary

Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus)

Archived Content

Disclaimer: Fact sheets on prehistoric (extinct) species contain archived content and are no longer being updated. At the time of publication, these pages summarized the best available science. However, some content may become outdated as scientists report new discoveries.

Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus) Fact Sheet

Extinct Large-headed Llama

Extinct large-headed llama, Hemiauchenia macrocephalus

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Taxonomy Physical 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 & Status Behavior & 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 & Development Species 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 Wildlife Alliance


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


Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings.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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