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Fossils of giant ground sloths have been found in northern Mar del Plata

Fossils of giant ground sloths have been found in northern Mar del Plata

A team of paleontologists from the Municipal Museum of Natural Sciences announced that they have discovered the remains of a family of species that inhabited the coast of Buenos Aires more than 5 million years ago.

Mar del Plata neighbour, Patricia Salesio, who was walking in search of snails, found three specimens of the species Scelidotherium leptocephalum, which had died and been preserved inside their old underground burrow.

This finding is of the utmost importance for the research team that makes up the Scalia Museum with researchers from Conisit from the Museum of Natural Sciences of La Plata and Bernardino Rivadavia from CABA, because, for the first time, there is a very complete record of what would have been a family group of these prehistoric monsters. the date.

Celidotheres were giant ground sloths that dug extensive, interconnected tunnels and formed veritable underground cities, so their entire anatomy was well adapted to this way of life.

These animals were 3.5 meters long and 1.2 meters high, weighed about 850 kilograms, and had an elongated, highly cylindrical head and powerful arms with highly developed claws that allowed them to dig what may have been the largest burrows ever produced by an animal in the world. The history of planet Earth, with tunnels that can reach two meters in diameter.

From the paleontology team at the Lorenzo Scalia Municipal Museum of Natural Sciences, they report that the rescue work was conditioned by tides and weather, a week of field work continued with a week of laboratory work to prepare some of the items and bones recovered.

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Another discovery occurred 50 meters north of the first, in this case by Vanessa Moran, a collaborator with the Scalia Museum's paleontology team, who found one of the most elusive prehistoric animals: Pampatherium typum.

It is a giant terrestrial armadillo with a movable shell similar in appearance to the Tatu Caretta, but it is larger in weight and size, and its length can reach 250 kilograms and two metres.

A large portion of the shell, hip, hind limbs and tail were found. The cortex consists of fixed lamellae and three sets of movable lamellae known as 'switches'.

Both Elidotheres and Bambathyris were part of the prehistoric digger group: these animals are unique worldwide and usually in South America, with specimens weighing more than 1,000 kilograms that lived a large part of their lives underground.