A new species of sloth has been discovered!

They live in a small area of ​​the forest in Brazil. Those from the south are a different species from those found further north

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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A new species of sloth has been discovered!

A new species of sloth has been discovered, and the new species has a head with a shape similar to a coconut. These would be maned sloths. They live in a small area of ​​the forest in Brazil. Those from the south are a different species from those found further north.

The maned sloth features coarse, brown hair, with a coconut-like head, and was first described in 1811. At the time of discovery, British zoologist John Edward Gray claimed to have found a second species in the 1850, which he named Bradypus crinitus.

His claims were rejected but the new species discovered is exactly the one described by Gray. Researchers said: "Our integrative method demonstrates that 2 species of maned sloths can be recognized: the northern maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus) which lives in the Brazilian states of Bahia and Sergipe, and the southern maned sloth (Bradypus crinitus), which occurs in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo." Compared to their northern counterparts, southern sloths had flatter skulls, rounder jaws, and wider cheekbones.

The researchers conducted a morphological analysis of 24 maned sloths, some of which came from the northern states of Bahia and Sergipe while the others came from Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo in the south. By studying a group of hereditary mitochondrial genes jointly, the researchers identified 86 mutational actions that separate the 2 populations and calculated that this divergence occurred about 4.24 million years ago.

Genetic analysis of 55 maned sloths revealed considerable hereditary divergence between the southern and northern groups. The sloth's diet is based on fruit and vegetables and the ideal ambient temperature for it is around 22 ° C.

It does not drink water, which instead takes from fruit and vegetables, the extent of the territory in which it feeds varies depending on the sloth, in the case of educational sloths it reaches up to 140 hectares, while in the three-toed sloth it reaches from 0.3 to 15 hectares.

Furthermore, the latter only feeds on some leaves and algae that grow on it. For a long time it was believed that sloths lived only on Cecropia trees, but subsequent studies have shown that they live on about a hundred other plant species: this impression stemmed from the fact that Cecropia are very common in Brazil and therefore sloths there. they are found more often than in other trees.