Arts & CultureCultural Affairs

Emoji of the week: Camel

🐫 Camel

I’ll admit, I’ve never used this emoji in my life. In fact, I can’t imagine a single circumstance in which you’d need to send someone a tiny picture of a camel in order to contribute to a conversation.

That being said, the utility of the camel emoji isn’t so much in its use, but in its very existence. When you’re scrolling through the pages of faces, foods, and critters to locate the camel emoji, you can’t help but notice that upon finding it, there’s not only one camel emoji, but TWO of them. It’s like discovering that a whole new species exists after watching an episode of Planet Earth II

One camel emoji is shown with only has a single hump, and the other has two humps. What is the difference, you may ask? Well, I guarantee you wouldn’t have wondered about this all important aspect of camel genealogy had you not been faced with the double camel emoji conundrum. Apparently, “camel” is just the overarching term for those funny-looking desert horses with humps, but there is also a subcategory of camels called dromedaries, who only have one hump. The two bumps variety live mostly in Central Asia, and the internet tells me, are much rarer than the single-bump Dromedary Camel

🐪 = Dromedary camel (aka One-hump Camel)

🐫 = Bactrian camel (aka Two-hump camel)

So there you go. Although Apple took forever to make multicultural emojis, it has represented both kinds of hump-possessing animals, and respected camel diversity, since the very beginning.

Editor’s Note: I know you were all singing it anyways, so here’s the video for “My Humps”

One Comment

  1. The pre-Unicode emojis in iPhone OS 2+ had only a single camel. Apple is not to blame (or thank), but the national standards bodies (NSB) involved in the ISO process, especially Ireland, Germany and the US. (It’s really very few individual people.)

    The current version of Emojione displays one of the camels as head-only, which Apple does for one of the chickens, for instance.

    There are several reasons why someone might use one or the other of these emojis:
    – Camels are used as a joking/demeaning currency for the “value” of women.
    – There is a popular brand of cigarettes.
    – In some languages, ‘camel’ is a curse word.
    – Some languages have different lexemes for bactrian and dromedary camel, e.g. German.
    – People are using camel emojis in sexting to mean ‘humps’ or ‘humping’.
    – Camel racing is at least as popular as horse racing in some areas.
    – Drawings of a camel were possibly the source for the letters C (hence also G), Gimel and Gamma.

    Did you know that llamas and alpacas are also camels? They still don’t have an emoji of their own.

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