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Proceeding Paper

Principal Anatomy Particularities in Dromedary Compared to Ox: Digestive and Respiratory Systems †

Gestion Santé et Productions Animales Research Laboratory, Institut des Sciences Vétérinaires El-Khroub, Université Frères Mentouri Constantine 1, Constantine 25000, Algeria
Unité Anatomie Comparée, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de l’Alimentation et de l’Agroalimentaire, 44300 Nantes, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 10th International Seminar of Veterinary Medicine: Camelids in Algeria & Maghreb, Constantine, Algeria, 20–21 December 2022.
Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2023, 22(1), 13;
Published: 6 April 2023


The dromedary, also called the one-humped camel, can live and adapt well to the harsh and hot climate of the desert due to its functional anatomical particularities. Both the dromedary and the ox are known as artiodactyls. Anatomically, they have a few similarities but many differences. This paper aims to review the digestive and respiratory anatomy of the two species and enumerate their main particularities. The camel’s mouth is thick and unique; it helps them to be selective with regard to food and to avoid any thorny plants. The nostrils of the dromedary are slit-like, with wings that can close to ensure protection against the wind and the sand; they also have a role in the conservation of water. Contrary to the ox, the dromedary’s lungs are not lobulated, and the diaphragm has a unique structure. Unlike the bovids, camelids have only three distinct digestive chambers instead of four; there is no clear distinction between the third and fourth chambers. In addition, they have glandular sac areas called “water cells” instead of papillae in the rumen. Their liver is lobulated, and without a gall bladder.

1. Introduction

Camelidae includes six species: the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus; two humps), the dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius; one hump), lamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicunas [1]. The dromedary is an animal that is frequently cited as an example of adaptation and resistance to harsh environmental conditions. This is due in part to its anatomy, particularly its digestive and respiratory systems, which are distinct from those of other domestic ruminants. The dromedary and the ox both belong to the order of the artiodactyls, the first to the Tylopoda sub-order and the second to the Ruminantia sub-order [2]. They share several anatomical characteristics (extern and intern anatomy). However, there are some anatomical features specific only to camels. Due to these anatomical particularities, the camel is able to survive in the hot and dry conditions of the desert. The purpose of this paper is to document the main anatomical particularities between these two large ruminants’ digestive and respiratory systems.

2. Material and Methods

This paper includes 5 manuscripts: 4 research articles [1,3,4,5] and one review paper [6]. It focuses on the main differences between the digestive and respiratory systems of the dromedary and the ox.

3. Results and Discussion

The results are shown in Table 1 and Table 2.

4. Conclusions

The digestive and respiratory systems of the dromedary have some anatomical particularities that allow him to survive in the desert, where food and water are infrequent and the environment is hot and windy [6]. These distinctions aid in our understanding of the camel’s way of life and physiological properties.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, M.B. and R.R.; methodology, M.B.; software, M.B.; validation, R.R., F.T.-Z. and C.G.; formal analysis, M.B.; investigation, M.B.; resources, M.B.; data curation, M.B.; writing—original draft preparation, M.B.; writing—review and editing, M.B., F.T.-Z. and C.G.; visualization, C.G.; supervision, F.T.-Z. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

No new data were created or analyzed in this study. Data sharing is not applicable to this article.


The authors would like to thank Amira Leila DIB for her invaluable guidance, and Nedjoua LAKHDARA for her assistance with the translation.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Table 1. Some particularities of the digestive tract between the dromedary and the ox [1,4,7,8].
Table 1. Some particularities of the digestive tract between the dromedary and the ox [1,4,7,8].
MouthSplit upper lip and pendulous lower lipUpper lip larger than the lower
Dental formulaI1/3 C1/1 PM3/2 M3/3I0/4 C0/0 PM3/3 M3/3
Soft palateExtensible and extrudedNot extruded
Salivary glandsAbsence of monostomatic sublingual glandPresence of monostomatic sublingual gland
EsophagusEnters directly into the rumenIt joints the stomach between the rumen and reticulum
Stomach3 distinct chambers
Presence of glandular sac
4 distinct digestive chambers
Absence of the glandular sac
Small intestines40 m in length, large jejunum40 m in length, jejuno-ileum
Large intestinesExtremely long (20 m)
Blind caecum attached
Helical colon
10 m in length,
Blind caecum free
S-shaped colon with loops
Accessory glandsLiver: lobulated
Gall bladder: absent
Spleen: not attached to the diaphragm
Liver: not lobulated
Gall bladder: Present
Spleen: attached to the diaphragm
Table 2. Some particularities of the respiratory system between the dromedary and the ox [3,4,8,9].
Table 2. Some particularities of the respiratory system between the dromedary and the ox [3,4,8,9].
NostrilsSlit-like appearanceSeparated by a large muffle
Trachea66–75 incomplete rings of hyaline cartilage45–55 rings of cartilage with a dorsal crest
Lungs5 lobes [4] with absence of fissures 7 lobes with presence of fissures
DiaphragmOssified [5] Not ossified
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MDPI and ACS Style

Boukerrou, M.; Ridouh, R.; Tekkouk-Zemmouchi, F.; Guintard, C. Principal Anatomy Particularities in Dromedary Compared to Ox: Digestive and Respiratory Systems. Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2023, 22, 13.

AMA Style

Boukerrou M, Ridouh R, Tekkouk-Zemmouchi F, Guintard C. Principal Anatomy Particularities in Dromedary Compared to Ox: Digestive and Respiratory Systems. Biology and Life Sciences Forum. 2023; 22(1):13.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Boukerrou, Maya, Rania Ridouh, Faiza Tekkouk-Zemmouchi, and Claude Guintard. 2023. "Principal Anatomy Particularities in Dromedary Compared to Ox: Digestive and Respiratory Systems" Biology and Life Sciences Forum 22, no. 1: 13.

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