USA: juvenile giant sloth from Ice Age


Megalonyx jeffersoni

From the University of Iowa (USA):

June 26, 2006

Bones Of Baby Ice Age Sloth Carefully Reconstructed

For the past three years, students, staff and volunteers from the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, UI Department of Geoscience in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the State Archaeologist have been excavating, analyzing and carefully reconstructing the bones of an ice-age giant sloth from a site near Shenandoah, Iowa.

Like detectives at a 12,000-year-old crime scene, the team has been attempting to piece together a life history of this extinct, furry, SUV-sized mammal.

What did it eat? Why did it die?

And why did sloths mysteriously become extinct along with over three dozen other large ice age animals?

The mystery has suddenly gotten much more complicated.

The museum has announced the research team has recovered more than 30 smaller bones which have been confirmed as belonging to a juvenile version of the same species “probably about one year old,” according to Greg McDonald, the world’s foremost giant sloth authority and senior curator of natural history at the National Park Service in Ft. Collins, Colo.

“With 30-plus bones I would rank this the second-most complete juvenile Megalonyx ever found.”

The bones were found about 10 feet away from where the first adult bones were discovered.

“This is the first time an immature sloth of this species has been found associated with an adult,” said David Brenzel, curator of the UI Museum of Natural History.

Ground sloths: here.

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7 thoughts on “USA: juvenile giant sloth from Ice Age

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