A group of American scientists from the University of Wisconsin in Madison figured out why sloths are slow and what benefits it gives them. As shown by a new study, the animals, the name goes back to the word “lazy”, have become such as we know them, due to the fact that their diet did not allow them to “waste” valuable energy.
The sloths managed to firmly occupy a rather unusual ecological niche. Almost all of the time sloths spend in trees, and they eat only leaves. Other animals who use Fox food, as a rule, are large — for example, elk or deer to reach the leaves, they need not to go to them on the branches, and make a few steps and bump your head. However, when such food enters the body not too much energy, and that it was enough to go around the trees, the sloths had to adapt. The assumption, which wanted to check the scientists, was the fact that these animals managed to develop a unique “efficient” metabolism, which made them so slow and laid-back.
Find out exactly how much energy sloths spend a day, the scientists tried feeding them samples of leaves and water isotopes, after which the amount of energy used can be measured. A similar experiment experts conducted with two-toed and three-toed sloths in the forests of Costa Rica. As it turned out, three-toed sloths in the day “burn” only 460 kilojoules (110 calories) a day — about as much energy contained in one boiled potato. None of the studied in detail to date, mammals unable to survive, consuming so little energy, say the researchers. In addition to the slow volume of the substances, according to scientists, this contributes to the ability of sloths is very effective to control the temperature of his own body.
According to scientists, allows to understand why animals like sloths, that is, living on trees and eating their leaves in the world, but in itself is like an ecological niche seems to be very common.
The results of the study presented in the scientific journal the American naturalist is.Related posts: