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Animals of the Pleistocene in North America

Many archaeological sites dating to the Pleistocene have evidence of the butchery of mammals, mammoths, mastodon, camillid, horses, ground sloths, and others. Early humans in the Western Hemisphere utilized many mammalian species for food and to procure bone for making tools. On this page, we introduce you to some of the Pleistocene Species known from many archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere (North and South America).

To consider the possibilities of intercontinental migrations during the Pleistocene, it is paramount to incorporate a multidisciplinary study of Pleistocene environments, species, and archaeological sites. Studies of intercontinental mammalian migration provide evidence that numerous mammalian species which arose in the Western Hemisphere, migrated to the Eastern Hemisphere and visa-versa. This is evidence of the possibilities for human migrations across a landmass linking the Eastern and Western hemispheres, for where four-legged relations walked, so too then, could two-legged.

Upon studying sloth dung from Rampart Cave and Muave Cave of the Grand Canyon, it was discovered that Desert Globemallows and Nevada Mormon Tea was the major part of Shasta ground sloths’ diet. Giant Ground sloths spent most of their time in caves. There are many theories that claim that human predation and habitat disruption were some of the reasons these mammals went extinct. Modern sloths live in South America and although much smaller than the extinct species, they both have a lot of common features.

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