David Steadman, University of Florida researcher is quoted in LiveScience as believing humans were the reason that led the giant sloth to extinction. Steadman thinks that the encroaching boreal forest may have been the final last straw for large mammals in the North. What about the Ice Age?
In 2000, bones of the largest giant sloth was found by an University of Florida geology student in 1986 near Gainesville.
"There are so many things going on, and to me it's illogical to think that warming up and getting rid of ice sheets at 40 degrees latitude is a bad thing for large mammals," Steadman said. "They went through 20 glacial cycles in the last million years, and got through every one except for the last one. It has a
certain odor to it, and that odor is of humans."
"Weighing more than five tons and able to reach as high as 17 feet, the 2.2 million-year-old prehistoric creature was larger than today's African bull elephants, said UF paleontologist David Webb."Native to South America, Thomas Jefferson was also fascinated by sloth bones that were brought to the White House, commanding Lewis and Clark to "keep an eye out for ground sloths," David Webb said. "He was hoping they would find some living in the Western range."