Did Prehistoric Man Kill Sloths in Old Nevada Cave? (Oct, 1931)

Unless sloths used to be a whole lot quicker (video), I don’t think this would have been much of a fight.

Did Prehistoric Man Kill Sloths in Old Nevada Cave?

Mute evidence of what may have been a war of extermination by prehistoric men against giant animals has been revealed by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D. C. Bones found by explorers in Gypsum Cave, Nev., a deep, dry cavern 300 feet long with a crystal-encrusted roof, showed that this cave must once have been the home of a great herd of giant ground-sloths. They were ponderous, slow moving animals, twice as tall as a man when standing erect, with long tails and covered with masses of coarse hair. Vegetarian in their diet, they probably would not attack a man unless cornered, when they might deliver a vicious blow with their huge claws. A surprise to the explorers of the cave was the discovery of human bones, fragments of painted dart-shafts, flint-pointed darts, and remnants of an “atlatl,” or throwing stick, mingled with the remains of the sloths. As a result of this evidence, according to the Carnegie Institution, “it has been suggested that a group of Early Americans may have come upon a herd of ground sloths in this vast underground cavern and waged a war of extermination.” Moreover, the discovery that man and sloths apparently lived in North America at the same time, in the opinion of Dr. John C. Merriam, president of Carnegie Institution, ranks among the most interesting discoveries in archeology in America. It shows either that man appeared in America much earlier than was formerly supposed—for the sloths were thought to have become extinct before the end of the ice-age 15,000 to 30.000 years ago—or that these ponderous animals survived long past the historical date usually assigned to them. Hitherto there has been no definite evidence man was in America until a recent period.

  1. Rick Auricchio says: August 24, 20128:56 am

    The big question to be answered by archeologists: Were the sloths hunted out of season?

  2. Tim Crow says: August 24, 20122:37 pm

    At 20 feet from head to tail, the giant ground sloth could have put up quite a fight, but if you win, you have an elephant-sized hunk of meat to drag back to the cave!


  3. Hirudinea says: August 24, 20125:39 pm

    Well according to palaeontologists the arrival of man in an area usually coincides with the extinction of megafauna, but don’t think that those giant sloths were pushovers before you check out the following clip!


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