Scientists have discovered that the locomotion of sloths are not very different from other mammals. Using x-ray video equipment, these scientists found that the position of their legs and bending of their joints when walking was similar to other mammals. However, researchers also found distinct differences in anatomical structures in the sloth. For example, they found that sloths have extremely long arms, but short shoulder blades. In addition, they found that occurrences of dislocation of particular muscular contact points helped sloths maintain their body weight with little energy. Basically, the evolution of their anatomical structure helps sloths move very slowly and maintain more energy.
According to the University of California – San Diego, sloths have a long evolutionary history, though it’s not fully understood. They are known to have descended from very large animals. Some scientists think that two-toed sloths from mylodontid species and three-toed ones from megatherid species, but others think they have a common ancestor. Here is a chart that depicts the evolution of sloths:
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