guanaco or huanaco, wild mammal of the camel family, Lama guanicoe, found on arid plains in the Andes Mts. It is about 31/2 ft (105 cm) high at the shoulder, with a long neck; it is brown on the back and sides, with light underparts and a dark face. Although previously regarded by some authorities as the ancestor of the domestic llama and alpaca, genetic studies show that only the llama is descended from it. The guanaco is not domesticated, but indigenous South Americans use its flesh for food and make its hide into clothing and other coverings and its bones into various implements. Encroachments on its grazing land have reduced its numbers. The guanaco is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Camelidae.

Slender-bodied South American lamoid (Lama guanacoe; see alpaca). The guanaco has long legs and neck, a short tail, and large, pointed ears. It lives in small bands of females, usually led by a male, and grazes on grass and other plants, ranging from the snow line to sea level throughout the Andes Mountains from Peru and Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego. The adult stands 43 in. (110 cm) tall at the shoulder and is pale brown above and white below, with a grayish head. The downy fibre covering the young is valued for textiles, and guanaco pelts are used by the fur industry.

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