While it might sound like Bigfoot encounter, scientists have discovered fossils at the New Mexico White Sands National Monument that show ancient humans had once hunted and fought against giant terrestrial sloths. For the first time ever scientists have uncovered human footprints within the footprints of giant sloths which were tall, dangerous creatures with very sharp claws.
Scientists have said the evidence suggests that the humans “stalked” the sloth, following closely behind before moving in for the kill. Lead author of the study, David Bustos, said that the human tracks appear to have been deliberately obfuscated by whoever left them so as not to alert others to their presence.
The giant sloth, now extinct, would have presented a highly dangerous target for our human ancestors who would have relied on their ability to bring down large prey in order to provide food for their communities. Considering the size of these sloths it is suggested that they could tear a human apart if attacked directly.
For scientists, this suggests the early intelligence of humans in attacking prey in large groups and using tactics to herd them into traps. While the giant sloths were herbivores they would not have had any qualms about killing humans got too close.
The scientists also said there was evidence the sloth used evasion tactics and defensive behaviour as the human tracks got closer. This study is expected to show if there is any relation between human hunting and the extinction of giant sloths, a story that has been seen with several Ice-Age megafauna such as the woolly mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger.