People tracking giant sloths thousands of years earlier in exactly what is now New Mexico left footprints that validate people once hunted the giant creatures, researchers report April 25 in Science Advances.Giant ground sloths,
which vanished at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago, might weigh more than an elephant. With their deadly claws and muscle, the herbivores would have been formidable victim, says David Bustos, a biologist with the National Park Service at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.In April 2017, scientists stumbled throughout more than 100 tracks in White Sands. These "ghost tracks"had actually formerly stayed concealed due to the fact that they can be seen only under the right moisture conditions-- too little or excessive water in the soil, and the details of the prints were invisible.Tests of sediment revealed the sloth and human
prints were made at the very same time. An analysis of the tracks likewise recommended the two types were interacting with one another." We're getting a view into the
past, of an interaction in between two species, "states Sally Reynolds, a paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, England. "This was a moment of action, a moment of drama. "Reynolds, Bustos and their colleagues rebuilded the chase: Humans stalked a sloth, or several sloths, which the hunters surrounded outdoors. At 7 locations, a sloth raised up on its hind legs-- overlooking the people-- to ward off an attack. But the chase continued, with the human beings in hot pursuit.The encounter"wasn't luck or happenstance; it was cold calculation
, "Reynolds says." Our objective was to kill them." The trail of footprints ends, though, and it's not clear who came out triumphant.