National Geographic : 1957 Jun
861 Birds and Beasts Cavort Among Mysterious Symbols Indian folklore of the Karowrieng region offers no explanation of the paintings. Handprints, thought to be artists' signatures, were too small for the author's hand but matched that of the native guide. neck bones interest the zoologist, for whereas nearly all mammals from mice to giraffes have seven bones in their necks, the three-toed sloth boasts nine. This might be explained as a special adaptation for upside-down life. But the two-toed sloth, which lives in exactly the same manner and can twist its head just as far, has only six neck bones! Three days later, we noticed our sloth craning upward to lick something on its hip. It was caressing a tiny baby. Still wet, the infant must have been born only a few min utes earlier. So similarly colored was the baby sloth that, when it dried, we could scarcely find it in the mother's shaggy fur (page 858). Occasionally it slowly and laboriously climbed along the length of her body to suckle from nipples under her arm pits. We watched the pair for two days. The birth seemed to have robbed the mother of her appetite. Rather than run the risk of her going hungry, we carried the two back to the forest. With her baby peering at us over her shoulder, the mother started to climb a liana. When we returned to the spot an hour later, she was nowhere to be seen. By the end of a fortnight we had a large collection of creatures, ranging from tiny in sects and hummingbirds to boa constrictors and a capybara, a giant relative of the guinea pig (pages 872 and 873).