People tracking huge sloths countless years back in exactly what is now New Mexico left footprints that validate humans when hunted the huge animals, researchers report April 25 in Science Advances.Giant ground sloths,
which disappeared 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 across more than 100 tracks in White Sands. These "ghost tracks"had actually formerly remained surprise due to the fact that they can be seen only under the right moisture conditions-- insufficient or excessive water in the soil, and the outlines of the prints were invisible.Tests of sediment revealed the sloth and human
prints were made at the same time. An analysis of the tracks also recommended the two species were connecting with one another." We're getting a view into the
past, of an interaction between 2 species, "says Sally Reynolds, a paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, England. "This was a minute of action, a moment of drama. "Reynolds, Bustos and their colleagues reconstructed the chase: Humans stalked a sloth, or a number of sloths, which the hunters surrounded in the open. At seven places, a sloth reared up on its hind legs-- overlooking the people-- to fend off an attack. However the chase continued, with the human beings in hot pursuit.The encounter"wasn't luck or happenstance; it was cold calculation
, "Reynolds says." Our intention was to kill them." The trail of footprints ends, however, and it's not clear who came out triumphant.