Ancient giant sloth discovered in Peru

From Reuters:

Five-million-year old sloth fossil found in Peru

Mon May 25, 10:58 pm ET

LIMA – The nearly intact fossil of an ancient sloth that lived 5 million years ago has been unearthed in Peru, a find about 4 million years older than similar ones discovered in the Americas, researchers said.

The sloth was found beneath the cement floor of a house in the Andean region of Espinar in southern Peru when workers were installing a water system. Parts of a giant armadillo that has also been dated to 5 million years ago were also found nearby.

The sloth, about 10 feet long, was an herbivore and lived during the Mio-Pliocene era, said paleontologist Rodolfo Salas of Peru’s Natural History Museum and one of the scientists on the dig sponsored by the French government.

“This skeleton of the sloth is especially important as it is the first complete skeleton of its kind that is 5 million years old in the Americas,” he told Reuters. “Previously, discoveries have been made of partial skeletons of similar animals, but from the Pleistocene era, meaning from the last million years.”

The sloth was found at 13,000 feet above sea level.

Salas said the sloth was relatively small compared with other animals of its type and would help researchers better understand evolution of mammals in the Andes.

Peru’s dry climate has helped preserve thousands of fossils from the Pacific coast to the Andes highlands, making it a favorite of fossil hunters.

(Reporting by Carlos Valdez; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Peruvian navy ship runs aground in the Galapagos Islands: here.

A new study of 30 million year old fossil ‘mega-dung’ from extinct giant South American mammals reveals evidence of complex ecological interactions and theft of dung-beetles’ food stores by other animals: here.

A million acres of Amazon rainforest declared a national reserve in Peru: here.

The Pink Fairy Armadillo, Chlamyphorus truncatus, is classified as ‘Data Deficient’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. It is the smallest of all living armadillos, and can only be found in arid regions of central Argentina: here.

8 thoughts on “Ancient giant sloth discovered in Peru


    Resource Boom in Peru’s Amazon Threatens Indigenous Peoples’ Livelihoods and Their Rainforest Homes

    By Ecological Internet’s Rainforest Portal with Rainforest Rescue &
    May 27, 2009


    Support tens of thousands of indigenous people bravely protesting Peru government’s give-away of their rainforest homes to oil, mining and logging industry without their approval; insist peaceful protests are not met with violence by President Alan Garcia’s government, and that the focus for Amazonian development be upon benefiting from standing trees and intact rainforest ecosystems.

    Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon are protesting investment laws passed under a free-trade pact with the United States and against concessions granted to foreign energy companies. Some 30,000 indigenous people have blockaded roads, rivers and railways to demand repeal of new laws that allow oil, mining and logging companies to enter indigenous territories without seeking consent or even any consultation. Indigenous communities complain that some 70% of Peruvian Amazon territory is now leased for oil and gas exploration, putting at risk their own lives and the biodiversity of the Amazon.

    Please add your voice in solidarity with the tens of thousands of indigenous people and their international supporters mobilizing to protect the Peruvian Amazon. Send a letter today to the Garcia Administration demanding respect for the constitutionally guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples, and Amazon development based upon standing forests.




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