Miners in northwestern Canada have discovered ice age camel bones whose DNA is forcing scientists to redraw the family tree of the now-extinct species.

Grant Zazula, a paleontologist with the Yukon's Department of Tourism and Culture, says three fossils recovered from a gold mine in 2008 are the first western camel bones found in the territory or Alaska in decades.

Scientists had believed western camels that once lived in North America were related to llamas and alpacas common to South America, but they now have the genetic proof that the animals are more closely tied to the camels inhabiting Asia and Arabia.

Zazula says scientists can now begin to understand why the camels went extinct 13,000 years ago, at the end of the ice age.