Mar 16, 2020 I Paul Seaburn

New Species of Extinct ‘South American Yeti’ Discovered in Ecuador

Among the many theories about what a large, upright, fur-covered creature seen in various sizes and setting around the world might be, one that doesn’t get much attention is the idea that Bigfoot/Yeti/Sasquatch might be a giant sloth. Extinct for far less time than Gigantopithecus, the giant ape also considered to be a possibility, belief in the non-extinction of one or more “Oreomylodon wegneri” in deep hiding doesn’t get as much airplay. Perhaps it will now, as paleontologists working in Ecuador have uncovered remains of what they’ve determined to be a new species of the ‘South American Yeti' or Bigfoot that adapted to mountain living. Could it have adapted well enough to live until today?

"This new species has previously unknown characteristics, especially in its wide snout, adapted so that this animal can withstand the low temperatures and the mountain climate.”

In a press release by AgenciaCTys, the Institute of media for the National University of La Matanza in Argentina, Dr. Luciano Brambilla, a researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Rosario (Argentina) and CONICET (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research), announced the recent discovery of numerous skulls across central and northern Ecuador, along with bones that enabled researchers to assemble a complete body of this new form of giant sloth that conceivably crossed paths with humans before going extinct 10,000 years ago. Or did they? (Video here.) (Photos here.)

Ground Sloth
Depiction of giant ground sloth (Credit: National Park Service)

There have been reports over the years of a creature living in Guyana called the Didi – enough that an expedition by the U.K.’s Center for Fortean Zoology mounted an expedition in 2007. They heard many accounts of fur-covered humanoids, but the descriptions and reports of usage of tools led them away from the sloth towards an ape-like creature. No concrete evidence was found. Research into giant sloths in Patagonia found strong evidence that the creatures lived at the same time as humans and may have been hunted into extinction by them – with help from climate change. Specifically, a warmer climate allowed humans to hunt for longer periods and kill more giant sloths who were being driven from their hiding places by changes in foliage caused by climate change. Did the creatures in Guyana manage to survive humans AND climate change?

white great sloth
Depiction of white great sloth

"The finding of three examples in the same place makes us think that these animals lived in herds, a completely new fact for all terrestrial sloths."

Dr. Román Carrión, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, reveals the new data which could explain alleged recent sightings. Living in groups, something new in giant sloths, could have helped them resist humans by group cooperation (then again, look what that did for the American bison), while the skulls show a unique wider snout that evolved to help them breath in more air and moisten its dryness. Was that enough to allow them to survive in areas humans could not? Could it have allowed them to escape saber-tooth tigers and other predators?

The new research is proof of the existence 10,000 years ago of the Oreomylodon wegneri. Does it prove that this is the South American Yeti? That would thrill cryptozoologists, not to mention those wondering anything will help humans and animals survive climate change.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!