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He and his colleagues consider as possibilities several genera that once lived in South America and whose fossil remains suggest adaptation for serious digging: , though smaller than the sloths, were responsible for even the largest burrows.Regardless, the sheer size of the burrows is something that Frank and his colleagues are still trying to explain.
“We knew that there could be burrows this big,” he says.
“In these burrows, sometimes you get the feeling that there’s some creature waiting around the next curve – that’s how much it feels like a prehistoric animal den,” he says.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Amilcar Adamy of the CPRM had an opportunity to return to that strange cave in Rondonia.
Though he has yet to investigate, Frank’s received reports of one burrow more than 3,000 feet long in Santa Catarina.
Frank believes the biggest burrows – measuring up to five feet in diameter – were dug by ground sloths.