A group of Ice Age giant sloths died possibly due to a marshy well that was contaminated with their feces.
According to the website Live Science, scientists discovered the bones of nearly two dozen giant sloths of the species Eremotherium laurillardi in Tanque Loma, in southwest Ecuador. The bone bed dates from the end of the Pleistocene and contains thousands of bones from large mammals.
In the study publishedIn April, in the scientific journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, researchers write that the condition of the sloths' bones and their arrangement among them suggests that these animals died at the same time.
The soil and plant material around the bones helped the team set the stage for his death. Scientists think the sloths got sick from a marshy well that was contaminated with their faeces.
According to the same website, a probable explanation for this outcome is that, like the great herbivores of today, these giant sloths plunged into this well to withstand the heat and insects.
However, by soiling the swamp with their feces, this meant that, at the same time, they also ate plants and drank water that was contaminated with excrement pathogens.
In fact, as scientists recall, this has happened recently with groups of hippos that died in swampy places, for exactly the same reason.