First of all, the 20-inch sloth print is shaped like an apostrophe due to its long, inward-curving claws, and that shape is clearly discernible in the photo (the the sloth heading left from right).
There were many human prints around too, including inside several of the sloth prints, preserved in such a way that scientists believe they were made at the same time, while the humans hunted the sloth.
From the article in The Atlantic: “Ground sloths were not slow-moving slackers like the sloths we know today. They were well-armed and potentially dangerous animals, which ranged from bear-sized to elephant-sized. Those that lived in New Mexico were on the smaller end, but they were still substantial beasts with meter-long strides. A human would have had to stretch to walk in its footsteps. What possessed them?
Bennett thinks the pursuer was trying to provoke the sloth—and if he’s right, it clearly worked. At the end of the overlapping tracks, the team found a very different series of sloth prints, indicative of pivoting feet and scraping claws. The animal was rearing up onto its hind legs, and swinging its claws around.
Read the fulls story HERE.
Human footprint inside a sloth track. (Matthew Bennett / Bournemouth University)