As of the 1980s, a complete range of fossils suggests the first camelids appeared in North America about 30 million years ago, had a relatively small body mass and were adapted to warm climates. By the early Pleistocene (about 2 million years ago), they had already evolved into a form similar to the current Bactrian camel, and many individuals permanently migrated to the opposite end of the Bering Strait in an abrupt fashion, probably as a response to the advancing ice age. The remaining related types of American camelids are now only in South America. These include the Alpaca, Vicuna, LLama, and Guanaco.
Pure camel hair, frequently used for coats, is gathered when camels molt in warmer seasons. This undercoat is very soft, and is separated from the dense, coarse guard hair for cloth use.