Chile // Southern Patagonia //

The strange case of the giant sloth skin


In 1900 an expedition sponsored by London’s Daily Express arrived to investigate the rumours of a giant sloth in a cave near Puerto Natales, but no live creatures were found. The skin, it turned out, was so well preserved because it had been deep-frozen by the frigid Patagonian climate. Shortly after the 1900 expedition an unscrupulous gold prospector together with Charley Milward dynamited the cave’s floor, uncovering and then selling the remaining skin and bones. Two pieces made their way to Britain: one to the Natural History Museum in London, and the other to Charley Milward’s family, the very same which was to fire the imagination of a young Bruce Chatwin.

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