When Being Called a Sloth is a Good Thing

Pre-historic beast uncovered at construction site

By Susan Taylor
|  Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009  |  Updated 10:44 AM PDT
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Images: Giant Sloth, Mammoth and Whale Uncovered

The fragments are "poorly preserved" according to paleontologist and may not even be collectible. Still, it's an exciting find.

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Bone fragments of a giant ground sloth were unearthed at the site of the new Thomas Jefferson School of Law Friday, March 7 in Downtown San Diego.

If you're thinking "Didn't they find a mammoth there once or twice last month?", the answer is yes.

The East Village construction site has been a slot machine of prehistoric bones for local paleontologists. 

The remains of a 500,000 year old Columbian Mammoth (skull, tusks and several foot bones) were found at the site on February 3, 2009. The California Gray whale skeleton was found on February 26th, in the exact same location, but 10 feet deeper, and is believed to have lived 600,000 years ago, according to Chris Saunders, Communications Specialist at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

But this find is very unique. San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologist Pat Sena, who found the sloth remains, said it's a very rare animal and may have been 10-12' long, and 6-8' tall. Sena discovered the remains in a separate section of the site, near the Northwest corner of the lot at 11th and Island Avenues.

The fragments are "poorly preserved" according to Sena and may not be even collectible.

Not only did President Thomas Jefferson have an interest in fossils of huge creatures, according to Saunders, but one of the species of giant ground sloth, Megalonyx jeffersonii, is named after him.

 All three animals are believed to be from the ice age and lived more than 500-thousand years ago.
 
 

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