Humans apparently hunted giant ground sloths in what is today the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, according to footprints analyzed by scientists working in the area.
This is not to say that it was a Flintstones-like scenario in which humanoids rode atop a sauropod and dined on their brontoburgers.
Rather, it indicates how dangerous megafauna was worth the risk of hunting to feed the clan back home.
"Rearing on its hind legs, the giant ground sloth would have been a formidable prey for anyone, let alone humans without modern weapons. Tightly muscled, angry and swinging its forelegs tipped with wolverine-like claws, it would have been able to defend itself effectively. Our ancestors used misdirection to gain the upper hand in close-quarter combat with this deadly creature.
"What is perhaps even more remarkable is that we can read this story from the 10,000-year-old footprints that these combatants left behind, as revealed by our new research published April 25, 2018, in Science Advances. Numerous large animals such as the giant ground sloth – so-called megafauna – became extinct at the end of the Ice Age. We don’t know if hunting was the cause but the new footprint evidence tells us how human hunters tackled such fearsome animals and clearly shows that they did."
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