Jeffersons sloth, megalonyx or (greek) “giant claw” is an extinct genus of ground sloths of the family megalonychidae.

Aside from there deceivingly large cuddly, and playful looks. These critters were native and unique to north America during the pliocene and pleistocene. However, because of not many remains, we don’t know as much as some of the other late pleistocene vertabrates. Like sabretooth tiger or direwolf, who were probably found in areas better suited to decomposition.

Thomas Jefferson recorded fossil bones from this animal that had been recovered from a mining cave in West Virginia in the late eighteenth century. Originally, Jefferson thought the remains belonged to a giant cat, based on the size of the large claws. Soon he realized however, that the animal was closely related to South American tree sloths. In 1797, he presented the scientific paper about his findings on megalonyx, or ‘large claw’ to the American philosophical society. The subject was the first two scientific articles ever published in the North America on fossils. Marking the continental beginning of vertebrate paleontology.

Biology and physical description:
There size was quite large. Bigger than most grizzlys, and flat nosed bears. 4m or 10 feet high. Up to 1000Kg or 2200lb big. They had a blunt snout and massive jaw. Large peg like teeth. There hind limbs were flat footed. And, a stout tail. Its believed this allowed them a rear up semi errect portion to feed on leaves.
Forelimbs had 3 highly developed claws. They were quite long. Up to 15-20 inches. Used to strip trees and tear off branches. (the deceiving part)
As with other sloths, the teeth had an outer layer of dentine, rather than enamel, and thus were softer than those of other mammals. Soft teeth wear faster than hard teeth, and to compensate for this, their teeth continued to grow throughout their lifetime (MacFadden et al. 2010).
Although very few specimens have been recovered with preserved soft tissue, better preserved species of late pleistocene ground sloths (shasta ground sloth) were found. And, it is thought that Jefferson’s ground sloth was similarly covered with thick hair.
Sloth bones are truly strange inside and out. Inside, they are virtually unique in the animal kingdom in the absence of any marrow cavity within their long bones. Instead of marrow, the bones are filled with a honeycomb network of bony struts and braces called trabecular or cancellous bone. This gave the bones great strength without the cost of extra weight. Whether that was necessary because of sloths’ weight, due to a unusually active life-style or just an accident of evolution is unknown.

Habitat: woodlands and forest:
Jefferson’s ground sloth had the widest range of all North American ground sloths. They have been recovered from over 150 sites across the United States, as well as from northwestern Canada and western Mexico (Hoganson and McDonald 2007; McDonald et al. 2000). Furthermore, they are the only ground sloth that has been recovered from the Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada.
Two recent studies were able to link directly-dated specimens from the terminal pleistocene with regional paleoenvironmental records, demonstrating that these particular animals were associated with spruce dominated, mixed conifer-hardwood habitats. (Hoganson and McDonald 2007; Schubert et al. 2004).
Scarcity in the Great Plains has been noted and interpreted as reflecting the paucity or absence of forested areas, the species’ preferred habitat, within the region. (Hoganson and McDonald 2007).

Habitat: Caves:
Megalonyx jeffersoni remains have been recovered from late Pleistocene sites, primarily caves, across the Midwest. These sites include West Cave and Brynjulfson Cave #1 in central Missouri, a site in the Galena Lead region of northwestern Illinois, the Hanson Megalonyx from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Carter site in western Ohio, Gillenwater near Bowling Green, Kentucky, Robinson Cave in northeastern Tennessee, and Cheek Bend Cave and Darks Mill in central Tennessee.
It is likely several types of habitats were utilized by jefferson’s ground sloth over the course of the Pleistocene.

The first wave of megalonychidae came to North America by island-hopping across the Central American Seaway from South America, where ground sloths arose, prior to formation of the Panamanian land bridge. Based on molecular results, its closest living relatives are the three-toed sloths (Bradypus).

It probably lived solitarily, only getting together for seasonal mating.
While most ground sloths walked on the outsides of their hind feet, Jefferson’s ground sloth kept their feet flat while walking. Furthermore, the shape of the hip bone indicates that this animal could also stand on its hind legs, using its stout tail for support.
During excavations at Tarkio Valley in southwest Iowa, an adult Megalonyx was found in direct association with two juveniles of different ages, suggesting that adults cared for young of different generations.

Teeth shape suggest they were a browser who primarily ate leaves, twigs and possibly nuts. (Kurten and Anderson 1980; McDonald 2005). Isotopic results are consistent with this. (Kohn et al. 2005). Analysis of the bone chemistry of indicate the animal had an herbivorous diet, (France et al. 2007), which is in keeping with a previous study conducted for ‘giant claw’ recovered in Alberta, (Bocherens et al. 1994).

Extinction: The youngest widely-accepted radiocarbon dates are from northern Illinois. Obtained from purified bone collagen. A combined age date of 13,800-13,160 years ago.
(Schubert et al. 2004). A slightly older direct date of 13,830-13,560 cal BP was obtained on a toe bone (ungual) in North Dakota (Hoganson and McDonald 2007).

Bipedal Walking:
How and why humans separated themselves from the other primates and began striding confidently on two legs is a question mankind has asked for thousands of years. Many scientists consider it the single characteristic that put us on the evolutionary path to becoming tool-users and uniquely human. So it was with no little surprise that scientists realized 100 years ago that some ground sloths probably could walk upright also. Why do they do it? What advantage is there that all the rest of the mammals have overlooked? Perhaps the answer can be found by considering the theories of why our human ancestors did.
Some scientists credit changing climate, and expanding savannas offering rich new ecological niches to a species that could climb down and out of the trees. Moving more efficiently and safely to open ground. Standing erect may have also been necessary to see predators approaching.
-Other scientists suggest foraging from the ground and being forced to reach up into the trees for food encouraged our ancestors to remain upright to reduce the effort of repeatedly lifting and lowering their torsos; and,
-Some scientists suggest the benefit of being able to hold things in their hands or arms was the force that put us on the bipedal evolutionary path. They also cite tools, food collection and/or infants needing an extended period of maternal care as the motivating force(s).
No one thinks sloths are as efficient striders as humans became. Then again, no one believes primate ancestors dropped out of trees and started walking. What did you think?
Whatever benefits ancestors reaped from upright standing. It started a long time ago, and improved from there. Studying megalonyx may some day produce new insights into our own evolution. Maybe they wanted to have a better view of the moon and solar system. One things for sure, the world is not the same without megalonyx, jeffersons ground sloth or ‘giant claws.’

Crete is roughly the shape of Long Island; lies half way between Peloponnes and north Africa; and, with steep mountains, became popular in Neolithic times

Radiocarbon dating of charcoal and organic remains, offers some dates on the neolithic history of Crete. It is believed the neolithic period on Crete lasted from about 6800 to 3200BC. About 9000 or 8000 years ago, neolithic people that were farmers, with sheep, goat, and grains arrived on the island and were able to establish small settlements. Using local obsidian, and clay. They farmed, made advanced stone tools and sophisticated pottery.

Cretes early civilization did not know metallurgy yet. Many of the weapons, farming tools and art, were of obsidian, bones or clay and stone. Vindicating statuses, they shared and enjoyed small primitive carvings representing women. Different sculptures and pieces have been found on diverse places all over the island. Sharing an enjoyment, and perhaps even worship of the goddess of fertility. Too many, Crete was an advancement from the other Greek neolithic islands. Probably because it was closer to the eastern regions of Anatolia, Cilicie, and even Palestine. Included with Mochlos and Pseira. Some of the first ports, could have been established on Crete. Because of there location. Trade and commercializations would have been bigger.

Houses and neolithic evolution
Beginning with huts made of wooden pickets and hard pack ground surface. By the middle to late neolithic, stony walls and stronger beams became the commonplace. And, houses were now arranged with several rooms. Techniques of construction evolved, using bricks, stones, cobs; beautiful logs and masonry. Thru the end of the neolithic period, the population had significantly increased, and good looking architecture became an attraction.

Megafauna of Crete: Ice age, the pleistocene, & hunter gathers
Before neolithic times, and during the pleistocene. Native fauna of Crete included many. There was the pygmy hippo, pygmy elephant (paleoloxodon chaniensis), and dwarf deer (praemegaceros cretensis). Giant mouse (kritimys catreus); and insectivores; as well as, badger, beech marten and lutrogale cretensis. A kind of terrestrial otter. Instead of the larger carnivores, there was the almost flightless cretan owl. It was the apex predator. Most of these animals died out at the end of the last ice-age. It is believed hunter/gather humans played a significant part in this extinction. And, there knowledge, stories and location would have attracted others here.

Photo of a giant mouse’s mandibles, only its 1st and 2nd molars are visable

Did you know? In 2008 and 2009, in South Crete, scientists excavated, what they believed to be stone tools at least 130,000 years old. Which was a sensational discovery since most believed the earliest sea crossing was thought to occur around 12,000bc. The stone tools found in this, the Plakias region, included hand axes of the Acheulean type, that were made from quartz. It is now believed pre-homo sapiens or hominids crossed from Africa to Crete on rafts. And, currently, scholars are debating even later dated artifacts.

Undeciphered ‘Linear A’ script; Minoans, metallurgy; post neolithic natural disasters; and, disruption
Neolithic art and cultural influences are believed to originate and influence Crete from Egypt, the Cyclades (Greek islands) and middle east. Records were actually found on the island in a written undeciphered script known as ‘Linear A”. In combination with these scripts, archaeological records indicate Cretes superb palaces, houses, roads, paintings and sculptures. All of which originated in the neolithic period. During this time, main settlements of Knossos and Trapeza became well known. Crete was the center of Europes most ancient civilizations. And, during the late neolithic age, as commercialization and trade kept increasing. Metallurgy became more common. A peoples and culture called the Minoans, begin establishing themselves with even greater pottery, architecture, and style. Unfortunately, it was a earthquake around 1600bc; and, volcanic eruption in 1500bc. Followed by invasion, looting and fires from mainland Greeks, and others. That was there prehistoric downfall. Be sure to check out Crete, and some more neolithic architecture today.

Sources include: the atlantic, made in crete, wikipedia and google.

Across many past and current cultures, caribou, reindeer or rangifer tarandus are mythical creatures

Still found in the northern portions of North America, Europe and Asia. Caribou, or reindeer, are holarctic deer. Reindeer, caribou or ranifer tarandus remain one of the most culturally significant creatures dating back to mythical stories from the pleistocene. Currently found in Alaska, Canada and along the Canada-U.S. border, including northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia. During historic times, and glaciations; caribou had a much greater southerly distribution ranging from Alaska south to Tennessee and east to Virginia. At the end of the Pleistocene, reindeer followed the shrinking glaciers, and boreal forests, northwards towards the arctic. More recently, caribou could also be found in the northern U.S. from Minnesota to Maine, but they disappeared from these areas during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Caribou are well-adapted to the extreme cold of Arctic environments, and their presence in more southernly deposits from the late Pleistocene serves as a good indicator of colder climates during this time.

Length: females: 1.4-1.9 m (4.6-6.2 ft), males: 1.6-2.1 m (5.2-6.9 ft.); and
Weight: females: 63-94 kg (139-207 lb), males: 81-153 kg (179-337) lb.

Charles Hamilton Smith is credited with the name Rangifer for the reindeer genus in the 1800s. The tarandos name dates back to Aristotle and Theophrastus in Greece.

Physical Description
Reindeer have a thick, wool like undercoat and a stiff overcoat consisting of long, hollow guard hairs to protect them from cold. They have broad, flat, deeply cleft hooves that allow them to travel across boggy ground, snow, ice and water.
In March or April, antlers begin to grow on male and in May or June, female. The process is called antlerogenesis.
Antlers grow very quickly every year on the bulls. And, as they grow, spongy in texture, are covered in thick velvet, filled with blood vessels.
Caribou is the only species of deer in which both the males and females have antlers.

Caribou occupy boreal and sub-boreal forests as well as arctic tundra, and they utilize a range of habitats within these areas. They prefer old-growth and mature forests, particularly those adjacent to wetland and riparian areas. They are also found at high elevation grasslands, alpine and sub-alpine open forests. And, scrub, and barren habitats characterized by large stretches of bare ground. In winter, they favor habitats with shallow snow cover, which allows them to drink and forage through the snow more easily.

Reindeer, or Caribou are herbivores who feed on grasses, sedges, mushrooms and shrubs. During the winter months, when plants are not common, these animals forage primarily on lichens, and moss.

While migrating reindeer travel about 19–55 km (12–34 mi) a day. It can run at speeds of 60–80 km/h (37–50 mph). After one day, young calves can outrun an Olympic sprinter.
Most reindeer/caribou are fairly nomadic animals who travel in large herds, migrate between summer and winter habitats, and frequantly over long distances. Males use there antlers in the fall to joust, and the right to win a mate. In the spring pregnet females establish calving grounds in the open tundra and grassland habitat.
Did you know: reindeer can swim about 6.5 km/h (4.0 mph), and if duressed, even more almost 10 km/h, or (6.2 mph).

Where to find reindeer: past and present
Caribou have been found around terminal pleistocene ice sheets. In north America, some of the areas were: central and eastern Wisconsin (Zelienka Caribou, Oostburg Caribou, and Wauwatosa Caribou), northeast Illinois (Valentine Bog), northern and central Indiana (Kolarik and Christensen Bog), northern Ohio (Sheridan Pit and Huffman Bog) and eastern Michigan (Fowlerville Caribou, Holcombe Beach, and Minden City Caribou).
In Europe and Norway more than 25,000 mountain reindeer are still around Scandanavia.
Russia manages 19 herds of Siberian tundra reindeer that total about 940,000.
The Taimyr herd of Siberian tundra reindeer is the biggest. With an estimated 400,000 and 1,000,000.
In some areas of the world, including Canada. Reindeer have been disappearing.

Relationship with humans
Both arctic and European prehistoric people have deemed the reindeer culturally significant. Northerners depended on caribou for food, clothing, and shelter. And, many prehistoric Europeans cave drew reindeer. Both developed herding or semi-domestication for things such as meat, hides, antlers, milk, and transportation, around or before the bronze age.
In both Alaska and Finland, reindeer sausage is sold in supermarkets and grocery stores. Some countries even sells Caribou as meatballs, and as a popular beer brand in Canada.
As a natural aphrodisiac, nutritional or medicinal supplement, Asians had sought reindeer antlers for centuries.

Indigenous North Americans
Considered important amongst indigenous populations, and especially modernly in the north. There is an aboriginal saying: “The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong”.

Indigenous Eurasians
Many northern European nations have used the reindeer in there coat of arms.

Hunting history
In 53bc, in Commentarii de Bello Gallico (chapter 6.26). Julias Caeser described the reindeer: “There is an ox shaped like a stag. In the middle of its forehead a single horn grows between its ears, taller and straighter than the animal horns with which we are familiar. At the top this horn spreads out like the palm of a hand or the branches of a tree. The females are of the same form as the males, and their horns are the same shape and size.”

Santa Claus and Christmas
In 1823, “A visit from St. Nicholas” was wrote. Around the world, at Christmas and new years, public interest spikes in reindeer peaks.

Believe it or not, golden eagles are one of the most prolific reindeer hunters on calving grounds. Other critters, such as wolverines especially take newborn calves or birthing cows, and although less commonly, even adults. Brown bears and polar bears hunt on reindeer but healthy adult reindeer can usually far outpace a bear. Gray wolf is the most effective natural predator. And, commonly, these (and wolves) groups will work together.

Cyclops Cave (Yioura)

Also called the Cave of the Cyclops, off the coast of Thessaly in Greece is the location of a uninhabited islet of Youra, in the Northern Sporades. Its archaeological site has evidence of human occupation through the mesolithic and late neolithic periods. Later material, such as roman lamps were discovered there.

Led by Adamantios Sampson, beginning in 1992 and continuing into 1996, a team completed a digging project. The more general purpose was to clarify the prehistoric occupation sequence in the area. There was emphasis on the pre-pottery sequences from the Late Pleistocene, mesolithic, and neolithic periods. Ceramic fragments of painted pottery dated to 6000 BC and 5500 BC were found. Other evidence of human occupation, included remains of sheep and goats were found there. Excavation of layers from the Mesolithic period dated ash and charcoal, an abundance of animal, bird, and fish bones, shells, scales, and even a human skull. In this layer were also tools such as millstones and grinders, fish-hooks made from bone and other bone tools. They also found a small number of tools made from obsidian and siliceous rocks.

Grotte Chauvet-point d’arc is Chauvet Cave located in SE France with cave drawings more than 30,000 years ago.

Its soft clay-like floor retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded depressions that are believed to be the “nests” where the Europen cave bears slept. In Grotte Chauvet-point d’arc, fossilized bones are abundant, and include the skulls of cave bears, and the horned skull of an ibex.

Located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc. On a limestone cliff, above the former bed of the river Ardèche, in the Gorges de l’Ardèche, is Chauvet cave. It is situated above the previous course of the Ardèche river before the Pont d’Arc opened up. The gorges of the Ardèche region and the site are numerous. There are many caves, much of them having some geological or archaeological importance.

This cave is amongst the best preserved caves in the world. Chauvet cave remained untouched for possibly thousands of years before it was discovered in 1994. Evidence suggests that it was due to a landslide which covered its historical entrance. Left with the cave bear foot prints were little child’s footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths, and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves.

Like many European caves, dates have been a matter of dispute. A study published in 2012 supports placing the art approximately 32,000–30,000 years ago. A newer study published in 2016, using additional 88 radiocarbon dates ,showed two periods of habitation, one 37,000- 33,500; and, the other from 31,000 to 28,000 years ago. Most of the black drawings were from even earlier periods.

Artistic ‘shamanal’ components?
Some say a magical ‘venus’ figure composed of what appears to be a vulva attached to an incomplete pair of legs is seen in the cave. Above the Venus, and in contact with it, is a bisons head. Most had led to describe the composite drawing as a Minotaur (half bull), or Centaur (half horse), or ??.
The cave even has panels of red ochre hand stencils. From blowing the crushed up pigments of ochre over hands pressed against the caves surface. And, abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave. There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly or avian shape to them. This and/or the combination of subjects (including other caves in the area) lead many to believe that there was a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings, and lives of humans, tens of thousands of years ago.

Lots of drawings:
The artists who produced these paintings used techniques rarely found in other cave art. Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked.
Popular paintings include what is suggested as being a dog, however these have been challenged as being a wolf.
Hundreds of animal paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species.
Rather than depicting only the familiar herbivores that predominate in Paleolithic cave art, i.e. horses, aurochs, mammoths, etc., the walls of the Chauvet Cave feature many predatory animals, e.g., cave lions, leopards, bears, and cave hyenas. There is also paintings of whoolly rhinoceroses. Which had not been found in North America.
One drawing, later overlaid with a sketch of a deer, is reminiscent of a volcano spewing lava, similar to the regional volcanoes that were active at the time. If confirmed, this would represent the earliest known drawing of a volcanic eruption.

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Panthera onca augusta, commonly known as the ‘giant jaguar’, is a species of jaguar that survived almost 2 million years ago, until about 11,700 years ago.

Skeletal parts, including jaws and teeth, of the giant jaguar was discovered on the Platte river, of Nebraska, in 1827, by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden. He sent it to Joesph Leidy, at the academy of natural sciences in Philidelphia. Who was working on identifying some of the recent pleistocene megafauna discoveries.

Beginning around the 1840s, more findings came forward, from Flordia, Maryland to Tennessee.
Even Oregon, California (La Brae), and southwestern Mexico had remains of the giant jaguar.
More pieces became available to scientists, and in the early 1920s, they were able to differentiate and classify the different subspecies, sizes and genetics further.


Giant beaver (castoroides ohioensis)

Depicted in everything from hunting/trapping and fur trading, to fantasy stories and causing grief in and around everyones of water. In Latin: “beaver” (castor), “like” (oides), or giant beaver, are giant rats with large flat tails. They are an extinct genus of enormous, bear-sized beaver that lived in North America during the Pleistocene.

Species of castoroides are much larger than modern beavers. Their average length was approximately 6.2 ft, and they could grow as large as 7.2 ft. The weight could vary from 198 lb to 276 lb. This makes it the largest known rodent in north America during the Pleistocene and the largest known beaver.

Recent analyses suggest that they could have weighed less, closer to 170 lb, but this is disputable. The hind feet of the giant beaver were much larger than in modern beavers, though the hind legs were shorter. The tail was longer and may not have been as paddle-shaped as in modern beavers. More like a musk rat.
It can only be assumed that its feet were webbed, as in modern species and allowing it maneuverability underwater.
Its skull was different, suggesting that it participated in greater underwater activity. They had a greater ability to take oxygen into its lungs.
One of the defining characteristics of the giant beavers, or any beaver for that matter, is their incisor teeth. The giant beavers teeth were much larger and the shape was different too. Modern beavers have incisor teeth with smooth enamel, while the teeth of the giant beaver had a striated, textured enamel surface. Perhaps for digesting plants? Their teeth were also much larger, up to 6 in long.

Larger and dumber?
One other major differences between the giant beaver and our modern day beaver is that the size of brains. The giant beavers brain was proportionally smaller. Given that less humans were around, they probably had less complex patterns of thoughts and behaviour.

There are two known species:

  • Castoroides dilophidus (found in Florida and the southeastern states only)
  • Castoroides ohioensis (found throughout continental United States and Canada)
    These two species of giant beaver (genus Castoroides) are not close relatives to modern beavers (genus Castor).

Discovery and species:
In 1837, castoroides fossils were first discovered in a peat bog in Ohio. Its why the species was named ohioensis. The north Indiana historical society found a decent preserved skull though a few pieces were missing. Eventually they put an entire skeleton together in around 1900.

Giant beavers had cutting teeth up to 6″ long with prominently-ridged outer surfaces. These strong enamel ridges would have acted as girders to support such long teeth. Further, the deepmasseteric fossa of the lower jaw suggests a very powerful bite. Their teeth could have acted as wood-cutters and gouges. It is unknown weaither the giant beaver felled trees or built dams, however a possible lodge was discovered near New Knoxville, Ohio around 1912. Part of a giant beaver skull was found in the peaty loam which could have been a part of the damn.

Dams: four feet high, 8 feet diameter?
In Ohio, there have been claims of a possible giant beaver lodge, formed from small (aspen, cottonwood, birch, popular) saplings. It could be evidence for lodge building as the current beaver also is known for building lodges.

Sheridan cave:
Remains of the giant beaver, paleo indian artifacts and other pleistocene aged critters were found in Ohio. In Wyandot county, in the Sheridan cave, remains of the flat-headed peccary, giant short-faced bear, and the stag moose were all found.

Where do you find giant beavers?
Fossils are concentrated around the midwestern USA near the Great Lakes, particularly Illinois and Indiana. Specimens have also been recorded in Alaska, Canada and Florida.
In Canada, fossils of this species are commonly found around Old Crow, and northern Yukon. Single specimens are known from Toronto and Indian Island, New Brunswick. The Toronto areas record of a giant beaver skull from near Highgate, Ontario is the earliest for Canada in 1891. In the Old Crow region, fossils occur in the sangamonian interglacial deposits and are still being discovered.

The quaternary terrestrial mammal fauna of New Brunswick has not been significant, and the discovery of giant beaver suggests this area probably has greater than previously indicated. It is debatable if more megafauna will be found here.

Castoroides dilophidus has been placed in a separate species because it is from the southeastern US and because of differences in premolar and molar features. Martin (1969).
More than 25 pleistocene localities in Florida have been observed, 23 of Rancholabrean age. 1 is of possible Irvingtonian age, and 1 of late Blancan.

Castoroides dilophidus specimens have been unearthed in South Carolina. The latter Cooper river site (strawberry hill), was dated at 1.8 million—11,000 years ago. Before it was changed to castoroides dilophidus, castoroides leiseyorum was named by S. Morgan and J. A. White in 1995 for the Leisey shell pit. In Hillsborough county, Florida, is paleontological site dates to about 2.1 Mya.

North America ice age distribution:
During our most recent ice age, and the 30,000 to 11,700 years, giant beavers were restricted primarily to the central and eastern U.S. (McDonald and Bryson 2010). They were most abundant south of the Great Lakes in Illinois and Indiana.

What was happening at the end of the Pleistocene:
Something big happened to extinct the giant beaver at end of the Pleistocene. Most agree it went extinct due to reduction and disappearance of preferred habitat. The climate warmed and the glaciers retreated north. Clovis people eventually came. And, scientists still research many of these areas.

McDonald and Bryson in 2010, claimed beavers liked the cooler annual temperatures, with strong growing seasons but it may have been the spring rains that wiped food supply and the giant beavers out. It is cooler north, and with the spring rains increasing, it would have shortened growing seasons significantly.
Swinehart and Richards in 2001, also claimed that for a period late pleistocene, lakes, ponds marshes may have actually increased habitat.
Climate change; humans; competition from other species/preditors; a great event, or combination(s). One thing always leads to another. Cool hypotheses.

Midwestern Paleontological Finds:
Illinois has had the greatest remains of giant beaver in the midwest. There are at least seven localities in central and northern Illinois: Alton, hopwood, Clear Lake Sand and Gravel, Polecat Creek, Bellflower, New Bedford and Phillips Park. In central Indiana, there are at least 3: Prairie creek, Shoals, and Christensen bog. It has also been documented in Michigan: I-96 site, Dowagiac river, and near the city of Ludington. In Ohio, giant beaver documented from Carter site and Sheriden pit. It has been recovered from the Witte Farm in southern Wisconsin, Boney springs central Missouri, and, as well, two localities near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Following the last glacial maximum. Castoroides disappeared from northern populations, Alaska and the Yukon about 18,000 years ago. Alongside tens of other iconic north American pleistocene megafauna. Castoroides went totally extinct during the pleistocene–holocene transition, around southern great lakes and south eastern us region, 11,700 years ago. It coincides with the arrival of the Clovis people in the region. And, climate change , which was believed to have a bigger effect in the extinction event.

Beaver hunting and Interaction with humans:
Little is known for certain about human interactions with giant beavers. Remains are found along with human artifacts in Sheriden Cave, Ohio and first Nations talk about it. Yet, there is still no 100% evidence that humans hunted Castoroides dilophidus or ohioensis (‘giant beaver’).

The Innu and Mississaugas do feature a giant beaver in their traditional mythology. Nation members believe there is evidence of some human interaction with with giant beaver.
In 1972, sociologists claimed ‘giant beaver’ was the basis of an Algonquin myth. Gargantuan beavers created dams so big, on the Saint John River, the lake behind it almost reached the sea. A popular figure, Glooscap. Struck down the dam with his axe, creating the Reversing Falls. Glooscap chased the monster beaver upstream, creating several islands in the river while attempting to strike it through the ice. The beaver constructed another dam which created the Great Lakes, and fled through these to the land beyond.
Several versions of an Anishinaabe story tell of “giant beavers” who “walked upright and stood as tall as the tallest man” as well.

Did the giant beavers jam up creeks and rivers like they do today?
Many scholars believe that stories like these could be evidence of humans and giant beavers. North American indigenous people encounter giant beaver or, at the very least, their fossils in a cave. It could indicate evidence of beaver/human conflict similar to what we have today.

Chomp chomp.
Be safe.

Neolithic tar sands, in Los Angeles: Rancho La Brea

La Brea Tar Pits is an active paleontological research site in urban Los Angeles. Natural asphalt (asphaltum, bitumen, pitch, or tar) was found near Hancock Park. Dating from at least 3500 BC, the tar preserved the bones of trapped Neolithic animals.

Bitumen lines, from the crude oil, seep up along the 6th Street Fault from the Salt Lake Oil Field, which underlies much of the Fairfax District north of Hancock Park. Oil reaches the ground and forms pools, near modern day downtown Los Angelas, becoming asphalt as the the petroleum biodegrade or evaporate. It usually hardens into stubby mounds. The pools and mounds can be seen at the Museum. Below is a picture.


Aboriginal ‘Chumash and Tongva’ lived in La Brea building boats and neolithicly through time. Pulling fallen large tree trunks and pieces of wood from the ocean, they learned to seal the checks between the boards and wood by using the stagnant liquid. An expedition, led by Gaspar de Portolá, led the first documented visit to the tar sands by Spanish in 1769.

By the 1880’s, land was purchased by a Countess of Dundonald. A formal excavation began by Messrs Turnbull, Stewart & Co in 1886.

In 1901 a oil geologist was finally credited with recognizing that fossilized prehistoric animal bones were preserved in pools. John C. Merriam, and the university of California begain a major portion of the early anthropological work. In search of large skeletons, between 1913 and 1915, explorers excavated more than 100 sites finding thousands of specimens. These excavations though, while being examined, have gradually been filled, by an accumulation of asphaltum, dust, leaves, and water.

Only one human has been found, a partial skeleton of the La Brea Woman dated to around 10,000 years. She is estimated to have been 17 to 25 years old, and found associated with remains of a domestic dog.

Neolithic Architecture; pest control, chimney cleaning, and log cabin building.

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North American scimitar – homotherium serum

Following its favorite snack, the woolly mammoth, it was said north American scimitar toothed cats may have migrated across the bering land bridge and spread throughout north America.

Discovery was by the famous French paleontologist Baron Cuvier, in 1824. He was the first to describe the serrated teeth of homotherium from deposits in France, thinking they belonged to a bear, or something else. They had less fossils than there cousins the sabre tooth cats, and it was believed they originated from them somehow, or, other cat beasts millions of years ago. Emilio Fabrini proposed the name homotherium in 1890. Translated in greek as ‘same beast’.

In north American, around 1893, the scimitar cat was first described by E.D. Cope as dinobastis serus. Its remains, from deposits dating between about 1.5 million and 10,000 years old, are known from Yukon to Florida. By 1962, they had adopted homotherium serum.

There is little doubt the “same beasts, or scimitars”, like sabre tooth cats, were derived from the late pliocene – early pleistocene (about 2 million years). And in turn, derived from machairodus, even longer ago.

Biology: 6 feet and 300 pounds?
Modern lions are similar size to scimitar but without the slender limbs. “same beasts” had 4 inch wide serrated teeth to inflict wounds. And, unlike there sabre tooth cousins teeth, which may have been a sexual attraction in finding mates, there shorter wider, finely serrated teeth, made a more powerful slicing tool. They had long legs, and sloping back. It allowed scimitar to travel up to 65km/h. See enlarged nose and nostrils? These cats were sneaky, sensory killing machines.

Actual skeletons of ‘same beasts’ suggests that h. serum is built for short bursts of speed, as well as agility. The first neck of the vertebra helped to support there massive muscles used to depress the head and teeth to inflict a killing bite. The pelvic region, including the sacral vertebrae, are bear-like. As is the short tail composed of 13 vertebrae. About half the number in long-tailed cats. Such features suggest ambushing and coming from behind.

Gassaway fissure and Friesenhahn caves:

The recovery adults and there cubs from caves in Texas and Tennessee suggest these animals lived in dens, possibly in family groups. This is further supported by the association of multiple mastodons found inside them. And, unlike dens of some of the other cat like species like sabretooths, mountain lions and others.

Did u see a scimitar cave den?

A partly dis-articulated skeleton of a juvenile, found with two complete adult skeletons, from Gassaway Fissure, Tennessee, estimated to have been 2 to 4 months old at death, probably represents a cub born in a denning cave.

Of great interest, were between 300 and 400 juvenile mammoths found in the caves. The majority were just 2-year olds. probably such calves became easy prey for scimitar cats. Indeed, the association of scimitars, homotherium or “same beasts” with proboscideans (elephants and mastodons) and rhino remains constant. It reinforces the idea that ‘same beasts or scimitars’ preyed selectively on these tough-skinned animals. As well long nose peccary’s, and turtles which were found in Texas, these “same beasts” would probably take down anything smaller than a young mastodon or rhino. Given the meal size, it could last there family weeks, or more.

What is a scimitar hunt?

Picture a grassy parkland like environment where mammoth or prey are usually found.    Leaving its cave shelter or den, from stalking, the felid cat beast approaches a small heard of mammoths.    After crouching behind small juniper tree brushes, it selectively finds its prey. A young 2 year old columbian mammoth playing slowly at distance from the pack. So starts a blindsidingly quick rush alongside the mammoth calf (pic). The cat jump attacks, snowballing its prey over, its deep claws pierce the shoulder of the mammoth so bad it is screaming.   Straddling the chest of the crying woolly calf, the beast cat slashes the exposed mammoths neck with its scimitars. Immediately the child mammoths mother, and rest of the herd move forward, trumpeting towards action. Within minutes the mammoth calf quickly bleeds to death, while the ‘cat beast” retreats to cover nearby.    When the herd finally abandons the young mammoth kill, the cat cautiously approaches, dragging the body in its powerful jaws, into its cave.  There it dismembers and eats its prey, shearing and breaking down large chunks of flesh with its fangs and gulping them down.    Only its baby teeth and its limb bone sockets are left, with telltale scratches and marks left to commemorate the scimitar cats killing power.