A Crossbreed Who Hasn't Got the Hump; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS

Article excerpt

QUESTION Is it possible to cross a Dromedary with a Bactrian camel?

How many humps would the offspring have?

IT IS possible to cross the two, indeed there is some doubt whether the Bactrian and Dromedary are different breeds, as they are able to mate freely.

Of the many crosses, the most prolific is the heavy Anatolian one-humped camel, which is half-Bactrian and half-Dromedary.

Because of their superior size and weight, which can go up to 1,000kg, they are used for heavy agricultural work and commercial transport.

In 1998 a more extraordinary cross was made by scientists in the United Arab Emirates who created Rama, a camel-llama hybrid known as a Cama. He has the short ears and long tail of a camel, but the cloven hooves of a llama, distinct from the single footpad of the camel.

He was born without his father's hump.

Leonard Chapman, London W2.

QUESTION What is the Rule of 78 with regards to money lending?

THIS is a formula introduced under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to provide fair treatment for the lender and borrower when dealing with credit charges which are payable when a borrower wishes to settle his loan early.

It applies to loans regulated by the act where the borrower agrees to pay a fixed sum of charges over the term of the loan by equal monthly instalments.

Confusion arises in that the regulations governing such settlements are called 'Rebate on Early Settlement' and borrowers may expect a refund of credit charges already paid. This is not so. The 'rebate' relates to a reduction in the total credit charges that would have been payable, had the loan run its full term.

In the event of early repayment, the Rule of 78 is applied to determine the amount required from the borrower to settle the outstanding capital sum and credit charges.

The monthly instalments under such loans are not split in regular proportions between reduction of the capital sum and payment of the credit charges, since the latter are greater in the early life of the loan when the debt is larger.

The Rule of 78 calculation assumes that on, for example, a 12-month contract, the credit charges are spread on the basis of 12/78ths of the total charges in month one, 11/78ths in month two and so on ('78' is the sum of the numbers one to 12, hence the rule's name).

Some adjustment is also permitted to compensate the lender for its setting-up costs, which may not be fully recouped when a loan is settled early. …