Footprints prove human beings hunted giant sloths throughout the Ice Age
People tracking huge sloths thousands of years earlier in what is now New Mexico left footprints that verify human beings when hunted the huge creatures, scientists report April 25 in Science Advances.Giant ground sloths,
which disappeared at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years back, could weigh more than an elephant. With their lethal claws and muscle, the herbivores would have been powerful victim, says David Bustos, a biologist with the National Park Service at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.In April 2017, researchers came across more than 100 tracks in White Sands. These “ghost tracks”had actually previously stayed hidden since they can be seen just under the ideal moisture conditions– insufficient or too much water in the soil, and the details of the prints were invisible.Tests of sediment revealed the sloth and human
prints were made at the exact same time. An analysis of the tracks likewise suggested the 2 species were engaging with one another.” We’re getting a view into the
past, of an interaction between 2 types, “states Sally Reynolds, a paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, England. “This was a moment of action, a minute of drama. “Reynolds, Bustos and their colleagues reconstructed the chase: Humans stalked a sloth, or numerous sloths, which the hunters surrounded in the open. At 7 places, a sloth raised up on its hind legs– towering over the people– to ward off an attack. But the chase continued, with the human beings in hot pursuit.The encounter”wasn’t luck or happenstance; it was cold estimation
, “Reynolds says.” Our objective was to kill them.” The trail of footprints ends, though, and it’s not clear who came out victorious.