|Jefferson's Ground Sloth|
Orton Geology Museum
Ohio State University
This is the first time evidence have been found of humans potentially feeding on a giant sloth. Other previous studies have looked at remains of mammoths and mastodons for potential evidence of human tool use.
Researchers examined 10 animal bones that were discovered in 1998. The bones were discovered in the collections of the Firelands Historical Society Museum in Norwalk, Ohio. The bones were thought to have originally been discovered in a small wetland in Huron County, Ohio, though the exact location is not exactly known.
The left femur of the sloth shows evidence of 41 incision marks. The bone was radiocarbon dated to somewhere between 13,435 to 13,738 years old. The age of the bones and the incision marks suggest that this is the earliest evidence of prehistoric human activity in Ohio.
|Jefferson's Ground Sloth model|
Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
The determination that the incisions on the bones were made with human-made, non-metallic tools, was made through microscopic analyses.
Modern paleontological techniques have revealed evidence of the colors of various prehistoric animals, the presence of bio-molecules preserved in bone, and many other advances. I'd eventually like to see similar techniques, beyond just microscopic evaluation, used on ice age bone material to provide better support for the use of human-made tools on bones.