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Sculpture of Giant Sloth To Be Revealed At The IU Bicentennial Festival

Two Researchers analyzing sloth bones

Gary and Polly analyzing sloth bones. (Chaz Mottinger/Indiana Newsroom)

Members of the Indiana Geological & Water Survey are building a life-size replica of the Megalonyx, a 10-foot-tall sloth that went extinct 12,000 years ago.

Outreach Coordinator Polly Sturgeon says while the bones were discovered in the banks of the Ohio River, a geologist discarded them in 1947.

“They were tossed both out of the window or put out for the trash," says Sturgeon. "The skeletons of the Megalonyx and also some mastodon and mammoth bones were thrown out of Owen Hall.”

The sloth’s skeleton will be replicated using 3D printing.

Assistant Director Gary Motz says he wants the 3D sculpture to look authentic and to make people think more deeply about the exotic animals that once roamed the earth.

“There’s so much left to our earth that we have not yet explored," says Motz. "That even in our own backyards there are still cool things to explore and learn more about."

The final exhibit showcasing the ten-foot 3D sculpture is expected to open at the IU Bicentennial festival in September.

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