Episode 33 – The Story of the Sloth
PAST TIME RETURNS!
After three and a half months of discovering how insanely busy a museum curator can be, I (Adam) am back to past times with a brand new episode of Past Time! Join me on a journey back to the Smithsonian Institution to learn about the whole history of sloths. We’ll also meet RYAN HAUPT, an ally in sloth paleontology and science podcasting!
Ryan Haupt: Master of Sloth
A Ph. D. candidate at the University of Wyoming, a fellow with the Geological Society of America, a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution, AND a podcaster…Ryan Haupt is a busy guy. His research focuses on the roles of sloths in both ancient and modern ecosystems. Balancing studies of sloth biology in the jungles of Panama and laboratory work on ground sloth bones and teeth, Ryan was the perfect guest to teach us in this episode of Past Time. He might even throw in some sloth coprolites (fossil feces) for the heck of it! Together, Ryan and I explore over thirty million years of sloth history and HOW we know what we know about extinct sloth species.
Ryan helps lead the team on the popular science podcast Science…Sort Of! He is one a huge team of ‘paleo-pals’ that produce the series, which focuses on scientists from all fields: from physics to chemistry to geology to biology! Science…Sort Of presents scientific ideas to a broad audience in a free-form conversational format. The series has featured noted science communicators like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, science writer Carl Zimmer, and yours truly! But Ryan and his friends what scientists of all backgrounds on the podcast, to get their stories out to the largest possible audience!
DIG DEEPER –
Sloth Conservation and Research
- Check out the Sloth Conservation Foundation. Ryan is a member of the board for the foundation.
- Visit your closest museum. If you are in North OR South America, it almost certainly has some fossils of a ground sloth!
- For the best of ground sloth fossils, visit the American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY). SO MANY SLOTHS!
- To check out the giant ground sloth model that gave its likeness to our cover image, visit the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, Virginia.
- Jungle background image from Wikimedia user Dirk Vander Made (Creative Commons 1.0 license).