Ground Sloths, Tree Sloths, Sea Sloths

Friday, January 13, 2017 - 10:00am

Join the Paleontology Society for their monthly lecture series. Greg McDonald, PhD, a research associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will be speaking about “Ground Sloths, Tree Sloths and Sea Sloths.” This lecture is open to the public. Meet in the Discovery Lab at the Visitor Center.

Sloths today are represented by the two-toed and three-toed tree sloths that live in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America.  In the past the diversity of sloths was much greater and included individuals as large as elephants.  The extinct relatives of the living sloths are often referred to as ground sloths since the larger species could not have climbed in trees, but there were smaller ground sloths as well.  One lineage of sloth even became semiaquatically adapted and has been found in marine sediments of Peru and northern Chile.  Fossil sloths were not restricted to tropical rain forests and have been found from the southern tip of South America to the Yukon in Canada and even made it onto some of the Caribbean Islands.  The talk will provide an overview of all the diversity of fossils sloths and their different ecological adaptations.