Clean water is essential for life. Be it humans or animals. It is essential for a thriving planet. Losing one tenth of the body’s water can results in death as the body will shut down. Lack of clean water has resulted in the mass death of giant ground sloths in the Ice Age. These sloths may have been sickened after faeces contaminated their watering hole. Bones of nearly two dozen ground sloths were discovered in a pit at a fossil-rich site called Tanque Loma in south-western Ecuador. The bone bed dates to the end of the Pleistocene epoch (around 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) and holds thousands of bones from large mammals.
Experts have identified 575 bones representing 22 ground sloth adults and juveniles. These dates to around 18,000 to 23,000 years ago. The bones were preserved in a single layer without much sediment separating them. The condition of the sloth bones and their arrangement relative to each other hinted that the animals died around the same time. The preserved vegetation helped the researchers piece together the fact that a marshy watering hole saturated with sloth poo sickened and killed the sloths that gathered there.
The findings were published online in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.