Discovery of a New Genus of Giant Sloth Confirmed in Costa Rica

Today, a new genus of giant sloth joins the list of prehistoric animals that inhabited Costa Rica, as confirmed by research from 2003 to date by scientists. It is called Sibotherium Ka, which in Bribri language means Beast from the site of Sibö and lived 5.8 million years ago at the Coto Brus Valley, in the south of this country, as revealed by the National Museum of Costa Rica (MNCR).

It specifies that in studies carried out in the field and in the laboratory, the Costa Rican scientists Ana Lucía Valerio and César Laurito, and the Venezuelan Ascanio Rincón discovered and investigated fossilized remains of the fore and hind limbs, molars, skull fragments, ribs and vertebrae of this new genus of a giant sloth.

Sibotherium ka must be considered a large ground sloth, about three meters high and about seven tons in weight, but it was not the largest, the family of megatrends, to which this new genus belongs, has about 34 genera more, all extinct, some larger and others smaller than the one described, indicates the MNCR.

“The evolutionary trend of sloths in the Tertiary Period (spanning from 66.0 to 2.58 million years ago) was a progressive increase in body size than in the Quaternary period (2.58 million years to the present), when they reach their greatest size, an example of them are the species such as Megatherium americanum or Eremotherium laurillardi, which came to measure just over 4 meters,” said Laurito.

The MNCR points out that to conclude that this is an (old) new genus of animal, it took seven years of field research by Valerio and Laurito, two more years of laboratory research, together with Rincón, and comparing the fossil remains with at least 15 other genera, to find differences and similarities. In this way, the scientists concluded that the genus was new and no identical records have been found in other parts of the world.

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