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Author Topic: Why is the sloths' defecation problem unsolved?  (Read 1531 times)

Offline alexbalex

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Why is the sloths' defecation problem unsolved?
« on: 11/01/2015 18:09:21 »
Hi,
As far as I am informed sloths climb down ones a week to go to the bathroom. This is a great risk taking and so far there is no accepted explanation. I was reading about this and came up with an idea. What if the sloths' ancestors were faster moving and frequently visiting the ground level  for toilet, making them vulnerable to predators. In this context it would be an advantage if you are less frequent in your journeys down. Thus, traits like slow metabolism gained an evolutionary green light resulting sloths to be what they are today.

Any opinions?

Alex


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Why is the sloths' defecation problem unsolved?
« Reply #1 on: 11/01/2015 19:46:42 »
The explanation seems fairly obvious. If you are exquisitely adapted for climbing trees and hanging upside down from branches, you are probably not very good at standing up on a branch, which requires a whole lot of muscle coordination that you would never use for anything else, and different claws.

Defecating upside down can end up with something nastier than egg on your face, so it's a good idea to get to somewhere you can stand up with the muscles you have.

The sloth is fairly well camouflaged and generally inaccessible to large predators when he is up a tree. So if he leaves his strongest scent on the ground rather than in the tree, he reduces the chance of being found and indeed may baffle a predator into not looking upward for lunch.   

Humans defecate more frequently, but usually leave their sleeping and working quarters to do so, as do most animals. As the saying goes, you don't crap on your own doorstep, and if your doorstep is the forest canopy, you have to crap on the deck.
 

Offline alexbalex

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Re: Why is the sloths' defecation problem unsolved?
« Reply #2 on: 12/01/2015 00:14:28 »
Good stuff,Alan! Talking about craping on your doorstep, have you seen BBC Iceage giants? They showed a cave full of manure from generations of giant ground sloths.
 

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Re: Why is the sloths' defecation problem unsolved?
« Reply #2 on: 12/01/2015 00:14:28 »

 

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