Footprints preserve terminal Pleistocene hunt? Human-sloth interactions in North America

David Bustos, Jackson Jakeway, Tommy M. Urban, Vance T. Holliday, Brendan Fenerty, David A. Raichlen, Marcin Budka, Sally C. Reynolds, Bruce D. Allen, David W. Love, Vincent L. Santucci, Daniel Odess, Patrick Willey, H. Gregory McDonald, Matthew R. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Predator-prey interactions revealed by vertebrate trace fossils are extremely rare. We present footprint evidence from White Sands National Monument in New Mexico for the association of sloth and human trackways. Geologically, the sloth and human trackways were made contemporaneously, and the sloth trackways show evidence of evasion and defensive behavior when associated with human tracks. Behavioral inferences from these trackways indicate prey selection and suggest that humans were harassing, stalking, and/or hunting the now-extinct giant ground sloth in the terminal Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaar7621
JournalScience Advances
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 25 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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