Footprints show human beings hunted huge sloths throughout the Ice Age
People tracking giant sloths countless years back in what is now New Mexico left footprints that confirm human beings once hunted the huge animals, scientists report April 25 in Science Advances.Giant ground sloths,
which disappeared at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago, might weigh more than an elephant. With their lethal claws and muscle, the herbivores would have been powerful prey, states 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 previously remained surprise due to the fact that they can be seen only under the best wetness conditions– too little or excessive water in the soil, and the details of the prints were invisible.Tests of sediment showed the sloth and human
prints were made at the very same time. An analysis of the tracks also suggested the two types were interacting with one another.” We’re getting a view into the
past, of an interaction between two types, “states Sally Reynolds, a paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, England. “This was a minute of action, a moment of drama. “Reynolds, Bustos and their associates reconstructed the chase: Humans stalked a sloth, or several sloths, which the hunters surrounded outdoors. At seven places, a sloth raised up on its hind legs– overlooking the human beings– to fend off an attack. However the chase continued, with the humans in hot pursuit.The encounter”wasn’t luck or happenstance; it was cold computation
, “Reynolds says.” Our objective was to eliminate them.” The trail of footprints ends, however, and it’s not clear who came out triumphant.