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MonsterTalk is the science show about monsters—a free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves. Hosted by Blake Smith and Dr. Karen Stollznow.

Jul 15, 2019

We've officially hit a decade of MonsterTalk. In this episode we get "old school" and talk about the legendary Mapinguari, and how cryptozoologists have tried to explain the folklore of this massive South American animal by claiming it to be a kind of Bigfoot creature, or even a Giant Ground Sloth. We take a deep dive into what Paleontology can tell us about the real historical records of Giant Ground Sloths (Megatherium) and see how well these creatures line up with the legend of the Mapinguari.Our guest is Uruguayan paleontologist Dr. Richard A. Fariña.
Dr. Fariña's Giant Sloth website (English / Spanish)
Paper describing the site of the Arroyo del Vizcaíno site near Sauce, Uruguay
David C. Oren's theory of Sloths as possible explanation of Mapinguari has been covered in The New York Times and Discovery Magazine.
We also discussed a few megafauna in this episode. Here's our Who's Who for those names:
Gomphothere - similar to an elephant or mammoth
Glyptodon - similar to an enormous armadillo
Megatherium - a gigantic ground sloth that is the main paleontological subject of the episode
And don't forget the question of Sloths and Avocados! The paper for that research is here.