Long before a teary-eyed Kristen Bellprofessed her love for sloths on daytime television, catapulting the slow-moving creature into Internet superstardom, the sloth may have been one of the most hated creatures on earth.
Early European settlers in the Americas couldn’t seem to find anything nice to say about the now-adored mammals, and in early accounts of the New World, naturalists labeled sloths with slurs like imperfect, deformed, grotesque and defective monster. Even the encyclopedias denounced sloths.
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