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| Last Updated:16/09/2017

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Ancient species of giant sloth discovered (Source: The Hindu 18/08/2017)

 

      Mexican scientists have discovered the fossilised remains of a previously unknown species of giant sloth that lived 10,000 years ago and died at the bottom of a sinkhole.

 

    The Pleistocene-era remains were found in 2010, but were so deep inside the water-filled sinkhole that researchers were only gradually able to piece together what they were, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said. Scientists have so far hauled up the skull, jawbone, and a mixed bag of vertebrae, ribs, claws and other bones, but the rest of the skeleton remains some 50 metres under water, the INAH said.

 

                            Researchers are planning to bring up the rest by next year to continue studying the find — including estimating how big the animal was. The skeleton is nearly complete, leading scientists to believe the sloth “fell into the sinkhole when it was dry or had only a little water at the bottom,” the researchers said.

 

They have named the new species Xibalbaonyx oviceps. An initial analysis suggests the sloth lived between 10,647 and 10,305 years ago, an era when giant creatures of all kinds roamed the earth.