Abstract

Detailed examination of fossil dung of the Shasta ground sloth (Nothrotheriops) from Rampart Cave, Arizona, revealed periodic occupation from more than 40,000 yr ago until about 11,000 yr ago. The sloths did not void in the cave during the height of the Wisconsin glaciation between 24,000 and 14,000 yr ago. Cuticle analysis of the dung verified earlier studies showing that the sloths were mainly browsers. Plants in their diet are still important in the local vegetation. Recent radiocarbon dates from various caves in the southwestern United States indicate that Nothrotheriops disappeared at or very soon after the arrival of big-game hunters.

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