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Follow South America news covering geographical, foreign policy and political news. National news includes, but is not limited to, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Columbia.

500,000 Year-Old Sloth Fossil Discovered in Argentina

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Sloth Fossil

An amateur paleontologist found the 500,000 year-old fossil of a giant ground sloth while digging in a well on his property in the southern Argentine coastal city of Mar del Plata, media reports said.

Carlos Manduga accidentally discovered the skull, some vertebrae, ribs and other fossilized remains of the pre-historic creature. The budding paleontologist then took his discovery to nearby Lorenzo Scaglia National History Museum, where he was informed that the remains were 500,000 years old, The Week reports.

Manduga told museum representatives that he found the fossil while digging and cleaning the well at his house in Mar del Plata, a resort city located about some 249 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Giant sloths flourished on Earth until about 10,000 years ago. Experts believe their extinction was a result of a reduction in suitable habitat (caused by natural climate change) and an expanding population of human hunters.

The first giant ground sloth fossils were found by Charles Darwin in Bahia Blanca, a city in Buenos Aires province, during his 1833 and 1835 trips to southern Argentina on the HMS Beagle.

This particular discovery still had its teeth attached, which will let scientists study almost everything about its DNA.

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