Thalassocnus natans was found in rocks that also contained fish, marine mammals, and birds, but hardly any other terrestrial mammals (de Muizon et al. 2004b). The lack of other terrestrial mammals and the presence of numerous sloth skeletons in the Pisco Formation in Peru suggests that they were preserved where they died and were not carried there by some other force (de Muizon et al. 2004b). Peru at that time was a desert and there was no vegetation that the sloths could feed on. All of this evidence allowed scientists to come to the conclusion that T. natans had an aquatic lifestyle. Indeed, numerous morphological adaptations point to such an existence (outlined in other sections). A close look at the teeth of T. natans shows numerous striations on the worn grinding surfaces of the teeth. This suggests that they consumed sand along with the vegetation that they ate, indicating that T. natans was a beach comber, feeding on washed up sea grass and occasionally venturing into the shallows to forage (de Muizon et al. 2004a). It is interesting to note that later species of Thalassocnus that likely evolved from T. natans were more adapted to the marine environment and fed almost exclusively on underwater sea grasses (de Muizon et al. 2004a).
- de Muizon, C., H. G. McDonald, R. Salas, and M. Urbina. 2004a. The evolution of feeding adaptations of the aquatic slothThalassocnus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 24:398-410.
- de Muizon, C., H. G. McDonald, R. Salas, and M. Urbina. 2004b. The youngest species of the aquatic slothThalassocnus and a reassessment of the relationships of the nothrothere sloths (Mammalia: Xenarthra). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 24:387-397.
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