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Animal Themes
Prehistoric Mammals Theme Unit
Super Sloths, a Presidential Favorite



Super Sloths, a Presidential Favorite
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.18

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    crosswise, inch-thick, saber-toothed, spite, plane, molds, presidential, mammal, southeastern, bird, ordinary, scientist, explorer, finding, skeleton, roots
     content words:    Super Sloth, Super Sloths, President Thomas Jefferson, White House, President Jimmy Carter, Albert Brantley, North America, United States, South America


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Super Sloths, a Presidential Favorite
By Colleen Messina
  

1     It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Super Sloth! Super Sloths were slower than play dough snails and clumsier than the Abominable snowman. These prehistoric mammals were slow and large...and sweet.
 
2     Some presidents liked these Super Sloths. President Thomas Jefferson loved them so much that he once put fossils of giant sloths in the White House. Do you think they scared Mrs. Jefferson? A modern president also liked sloths. President Jimmy Carter paid for a display of one at the University of Georgia.
 
3     Ditch diggers found this skeleton in 1970. They were building a highway in Georgia. Your dog would have had fun finding those big bones. A geology professor and his students were in charge of finding all the bones. They found about 350 of them. Only 209 bones were in good shape. So how did they make a skeleton without all of the bones?
 
4     One student named Albert Brantley was in charge of figuring out this prehistoric skeleton. If you think puzzles are hard, you should know that old sloth bones are much worse! It took him three years to put it together. He even went to a museum to learn about bones. That museum had some sloth skeletons already. Albert took measurements. He made rubber molds of the missing bones. Albert needed more bones to make a whole sloth. He made the other bones out of plaster.
 
5     Albert wanted his display to look real. He showed a giant sloth in a mud puddle. It wasn't just an ordinary puddle. The display shows a sticky, gooey mess that would trap the sloth into becoming a fossil forever! The sloth has two back paws and one front paw stuck in the black mud as his other paw reaches for freedom. This skeleton is only the fourth one ever to be displayed. Two others are in the Smithsonian. Another one is at a university in Scotland.

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Animal Themes
             Animal Themes


Prehistoric Mammals Theme Unit
             Prehistoric Mammals Theme Unit


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