Sloths, armadillos and anteaters have been stuck in the New World for their entire existence

Sloths, armadillos and anteaters (xenarthrans), as different as they look, are genetically more similar to each other than they are to any other mammals. This suggests that these three very different groups of animals descended from a common ancestor. If this common ancestor lived on an isolated island, we would expect that all of its …

Continue reading Sloths, armadillos and anteaters have been stuck in the New World for their entire existence

Sloth and armadillo vision pseudogenes suggest history of underground lifestyle

"The eyes [of the nine-banded armadillo] are rudimentary and practically useless. If disturbed an armadillo will charge off in a straight line and is as apt to run into a tree trunk as to avoid it.” [1] “If an infant sloth is placed five feet away from its mother on a horizontal branch at the …

Continue reading Sloth and armadillo vision pseudogenes suggest history of underground lifestyle

DNA suggests sloths, armadillos and anteaters are each other’s closest relatives

When one thinks of sloths anteaters and armadillos it's difficult to imagine mammals that are more different from each other. Sloths look a bit like lorises and pottos: arboreal, tailless mammals that move quite slowly. Armadillos look somewhat like pangolins, with their scaly armor. Technically, pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, probably have more in common with …

Continue reading DNA suggests sloths, armadillos and anteaters are each other’s closest relatives