How Sloths Went From the Seas to the Trees

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  • Published: 29 November 2018
  • The story of sloths is one of astounding ecological variability, with some foraging in the seas, others living underground, and others still hiding from predators in towering cliffs. So why are their only living relatives in the trees?

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for allowing us to use few sloth reconstructions! Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at alphynix.tumblr.com and nixillustration.com

    And thanks as always to Franz Anthony and everyone at 252mya.com for their great paleoart.

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: office-2016.info/user/pbsdigitalstudios

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:

    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Anthony Callaghan, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Ehit Dinesh Agarwal, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Anel Salas, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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    References:
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10722-007-9250-5
    tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00438243.2012.646145
    pnas.org/content/102/33/11763
    cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-paleontology/article/increased-xenarthran-diversity-of-the-great-american-biotic-interchange-a-new-genus-and-species-of-ground-sloth-mammalia-xenarthra-megalonychidae-from-the-hemphillian-late-miocene-of-jalisco-mexico/00EA80D119B2FE221240A3EB67F954AA
    jstor.org/stable/2400207
    onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00240.x
    tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10420940.2016.1223654
    palaeo-electronica.org/2009_3/189/index.html
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-017-9415-8
    eurekamag.com/research/020/408/020408865.php
    tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1671/2429b
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-014-9268-3
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-014-9280-7
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-014-9274-5
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3973278/
    bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1671/0272-4634(2008)28%5B918:TASTMX%5D2.0.CO%3B2
    academic.oup.com/zoolinnean/article/140/2/255/2624254
    link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-011-9174-x
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25861559
    peerj.com/articles/5600/
    tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1671/0272-4634(2000)020%5B0601%3ALBPSAD%5D2.0.CO%3B2
    researchgate.net/publication/233548931_Diet_and_isotopes_of_Late_Pleistocene_ground_sloths_first_results_for_Lestodon_and_Glossotherium_Xenarthra_Tardigrada
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 1 428

  • Thea Daily
    Thea Daily  15 hours back

    Who's Steve?

    • CheatsythePimp2
      CheatsythePimp2  6 days back

      I’m still sad that we can’t clone ground sloths back from extinction...

      • Peter Kröger
        Peter Kröger  7 days back

        Ha............ha............ha............ha..........

        • Aurum
          Aurum  1 weeks back

          whales/sloth= role reversal

          • who else but zane?
            who else but zane?  2 weeks back

            0.25x speed

            • Legacy of Lore
              Legacy of Lore  2 weeks back

              6:22... Anyone else thinking badger moles from Avatar the Last Airbender?!

              • C C
                C C  2 weeks back

                6:37 where the host mimics "furiously digging" 😆

                • Floppyfish288
                  Floppyfish288  2 weeks back

                  How many species of ground sloth are there???

                  • BroliYTwins
                    BroliYTwins  3 weeks back

                    I relate so much to this animal.

                    • 5pecular
                      5pecular  3 weeks back

                      Survival of the cutest.

                      • Front Desk
                        Front Desk  4 weeks back

                        i like his button down shirt. i want one. where do you find it.

                        • The Friend of Many Squirrels

                          Hank

                          • Estefanía
                            Estefanía  4 weeks back

                            I hate this voice..

                            • Alice Dixon
                              Alice Dixon  4 weeks back

                              Sloths are my favourite animal! I was having a bad day but this video cheered me up. Thank you PBS Eons!

                              • SeanNotConnery
                                SeanNotConnery  4 weeks back

                                Megatherium is an amazing animal to research.

                                • DomesticOnion
                                  DomesticOnion  4 weeks back

                                  The only way to say Thalasocnus is slowly

                                  • V Guyver
                                    V Guyver  4 weeks back

                                    I got a really interesting one. How much sunlight the earth is getting now compared to the time of the dinosaurs and prior as the earth's rotation has slowed down.

                                    • Tina McLaughlin
                                      Tina McLaughlin  4 weeks back

                                      Ooooooo! Me Too! Dogs turned into deals, whales you did. Manatees are worth a closer look too.

                                      • Jeremy Heartriter2.0
                                        Jeremy Heartriter2.0  4 weeks back

                                        They should've stayed in the sea.

                                        • Munchy The Wolf :3
                                          Munchy The Wolf :3  4 weeks back

                                          They went from friggin scary to ADORABLE

                                          • WHY SO SERIOUS
                                            WHY SO SERIOUS  1 months back

                                            Your videos are truly amazing I love them!

                                            • Kairi Suzuki
                                              Kairi Suzuki  1 months back

                                              This is actually my favorite episode of PBS Eons because it has completely changed my view of animals.

                                              I learned that sloths are weird animals that have thrived in rainforests, caves, and even shallow waters by utilizing their versatile forearms and their ability to live on every kind of plants. Essentially “sloths” are NOT restricted to being suspensory.

                                              • KommanderChopp'ard
                                                KommanderChopp'ard  1 months back

                                                Sloths are just done. They’ve been there, done that. They want nothing to do with any of that anymore. They are done.

                                                • Joel Aguilar
                                                  Joel Aguilar  1 months back

                                                  Does eons have a podcast or something?? I'd love to be able to have it playing in the background while I'm cleaning

                                                  • FeedMeSalt
                                                    FeedMeSalt  1 months back

                                                    they went from those majestic creatures, To something so stupid it will freeze to death if you wet it.

                                                    • Ramauld Ramharack
                                                      Ramauld Ramharack  1 months back

                                                      So this is what pbs kids went OK.

                                                      • Claudia DeBlieck
                                                        Claudia DeBlieck  1 months back

                                                        Video on the Thylacinus family?

                                                        • Spirit悪の
                                                          Spirit悪の  2 months back

                                                          THE Time when Pbs Eons was called pbs kids

                                                          • Aleksandar Vil
                                                            Aleksandar Vil  2 months back

                                                            Next do evolution of sea cows

                                                            • Andy Miron
                                                              Andy Miron  2 months back

                                                              So we need to slow down?

                                                              • Abhijit Desai
                                                                Abhijit Desai  2 months back

                                                                The physiology of the sloths family must have helped them to survive extreme catastrophies and move away to safer places all over the world later to mutate to different varieties.

                                                                • sherlockbonez
                                                                  sherlockbonez  2 months back

                                                                  Theyve been around the world and now just want to chill on a tree

                                                                  • Avocado English : Education for Young Learners

                                                                    Great educational video

                                                                    • OLD BIRD CHOZO
                                                                      OLD BIRD CHOZO  2 months back

                                                                      A 2 ton sloth? Ok i want one! Bring on jurrasic park !!!

                                                                      • Just doing it.
                                                                        Just doing it.  2 months back

                                                                        For some reason I thought that there was still a ground sloth in South America.

                                                                        • slovan01
                                                                          slovan01  2 months back

                                                                          How can these slow dudes swim?

                                                                          • Noah Boucher
                                                                            Noah Boucher  2 months back

                                                                            "Hunting by humans," makes me wonder what ground sloth tasted like...

                                                                            • BluePixie
                                                                              BluePixie  2 months back

                                                                              Lmao I thought I was on crashcourse when I saw the narrator, made me check the channel

                                                                              • Beast Boy
                                                                                Beast Boy  2 months back

                                                                                I was wondering, is it possible that low metabolism is an ancestral trait of all mammals? Or is it something that is inherently unique to the xenarthrans?

                                                                                • Me Too
                                                                                  Me Too  2 months back

                                                                                  Veeeryy ssslowsslyy.

                                                                                  • Cx0e
                                                                                    Cx0e  2 months back

                                                                                    Could have sloths evolved into something like whales if given enough time and if there was no competition from whales themselves

                                                                                    • Blaze
                                                                                      Blaze  2 months back

                                                                                      Is there a 'Evolution of Seals' episode planned? Because that sounds interesting.

                                                                                      • kennb750
                                                                                        kennb750  2 months back

                                                                                        First of all, I LOVE your videos! Keep them coming! Secondly, I'd REALLY like to know where/what these highly intelligent, scarily independent, bite sized things we call domestic cats descend from and how they've been so successful at surviving. Wow... That REALLY sounds like I hate cats. Lol! I don't.

                                                                                        • paul hench
                                                                                          paul hench  2 months back

                                                                                          I'd like to learn about Homo erectus and other early hominids that left Africa. Thanks for your great videos!!!

                                                                                          • The truth Don't deny
                                                                                            The truth Don't deny  2 months back

                                                                                            First of all the Earth has not existed for 8 million years it has only existed for 6003 years 2nd sloths were never in the ocean

                                                                                            • jaguarkick
                                                                                              jaguarkick  2 months back

                                                                                              Lmfao @ water sloth so slow they get injured trying to swim in the ocean back in them savage days lol

                                                                                              • Horatio KJV Bible
                                                                                                Horatio KJV Bible  2 months back

                                                                                                Anyone that believes this is a MORON.

                                                                                                • Kyle Murphy
                                                                                                  Kyle Murphy  2 months back

                                                                                                  How bats evolved!!!

                                                                                                  How echolocation evolved (in whales and/or bats)!!!

                                                                                                  Please!