Speed Reads


Amateur paleontologist accidentally digs up 500,000-year-old fossil in his backyard

An amateur paleontologist recently made the discovery of a lifetime in his backyard.

While digging a well on his land in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Carlos Manduga accidentally unearthed the fossilized remains of a giant ground sloth, AKA scelidotherium leptocephalum. The budding paleontologist then took his discovery to nearby Lorenzo Scaglia Natural History Museum, where he was informed that the remains were 500,000 years old.

Fossils of this kind of sloth are pretty common, reports Fox News Latino, but this particular specimen contains something rarer: a skull with teeth. That will let scientists study "almost everything about its DNA," said Alejandro Dondas, a director of museum.

Armed with huge claws used to dig intricate tunnel systems, the giant ground sloth once was ubiquitous around Argentina, but went extinct due to "climate change and overhunting by humans about 8,000 years ago," Dondas said.