Ancient camel bones have proved that the Bible is historically inaccurate as it was written hundreds of years after the events it describes.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University used radiocarbon dating to establish exactly when the animals first arrived in Israel.
They found that camels were not present until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs (2000-1500BC) and decades after the Kingdom of David.
As well as challenging the historical accuracy of Genesis, their research proves the Old Testament was compiled long after Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob supposedly lived.
Erez Ben-Yousef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, from the Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures, used radiocarbon dating to work out when domesticated camels arrived southern Levant, in the Land of Israel.
Ben-Yousef said: "The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development. By analysing archaeological evidence from the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley, we were able to estimate the date of this event in terms of decades rather than centuries."
Findings showed the camels were likely domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula as pack animals towards the end of the second millennium BC. The oldest known domesticated camel bones in Levant are found in the Aravah Valley, which was an ancient centre of copper production.
The team also notes that the Aravah Valley would have been a logical entry point for camels as they promoted trade between Israel and exotic locations – camels are able to travel over long distances in comparison to donkeys and mules, that would have preceded them.
By the seventh century BC, trade routes from Africa through Israel to India had opened up.
After analysing the camel bones at several dig sites, they found they almost all came from the last third of the 10<sup>th century BC or later, which was centuries after the patriarchs lived.
The earlier camel bones were most probably from wild camel bones from the Neolithic period or earlier.
This evidence directly contradicts parts of the bible which describes camels living during Old Testament stories.
Researchers believe ancient Egyptians used camels to revitalise the local copper mining operation in the area after conquering the land – events mentioned in biblical and Egyptian sources.