Which of the two pictures below is more strange? Which has creatures that are more out of place?
We were driving past a ranch in the foothills, and the grazing animals looked out of place. We stopped for a closer look and realized that there were llamas out in the field. Llamas! What could be a stranger sight in the grassy foothills of the Sierra Nevada?
They continued to thrive in North America until just 11,000 or 12,000 years ago when the camelids and the horses and a host of other large species went extinct. The reasons may be related to climate changes or to overhunting by recently arrived humans, or some other unknown agent, but they disappeared.
The cows that graze our grasslands today arrived much more recently with European settlers, but they evolved in Europe and Asia. They are the true strangers in our strange land.
The llamas are grazing over the graveyards of their distant ancestors.
Postscript: If you want to know more about the camels that are being excavated in the Central Valley, check out the Fossil Discovery Center in Madera County