MIAMI — Scientists say new fossil discoveries show tiny camels with long snouts roamed Panama’s tropical rainforests about 20 million years ago.

A University of Florida doctoral student in geology, Aldo Rincon, discovered the camel fossils while probing the sediment from the widening of the Panama Canal. He and other scientists also reported finding fossils of ancient marlins, turtles and horses.

Rincon said today that he and the other researchers never expected to find an ancient camel. The camel species had no hump, unlike modern camels. They also believe the animals, which had crocodile-like teeth, were probably just two to three feet tall.

Geologists and paleontologists have been traveling in the footprint of workers who are completing a five-year expansion of the canal to accommodate large, modern cargo ships.

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