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Did prehistoric sloths live up trees?

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Did prehistoric sloths live up trees? Modern sloths are all slow-moving tree dwellers, but some of their ancestors were very different. Ancient ground sloths grew to an enormous size. They had a massive body, a short tail and a small head, and some grew to a length of 7 m.

Their forearms were massive and had very large claws, which the sloths used to pull down the branches on which they fed.

The back legs were short, and it is thought that these animals propped themselves up on their muscular tail while feeding from trees. They would have been strong enough to push over most trees.

Giant sloths survived in the Americas until approximately 10,000 years ago. Pieces of their skin, which have been found preserved in dry caves, show that the sloths' skeleton contained extremely tough nodules of bone. It is this bone which probably helped to protect these giant creatures from predators.


Tags: ancestors, animals



Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 21 December '11


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