By: Marcelo Acosta Zárate
¿What is Megatherium? Megatherium was a genus of elephantsized ground sloths that lived from two million to 8,000 years ago. A related genus was Nothrotheriops, which were primarily bearsized ground sloths. The rhinocerossized Promegatherium is suggested to be the ancestor of Megatherium.
The Megatherium came to measuring 6 meters tall when it stood on its hind legs, their heads were relatively small, its hind legs slightly longer and more robust to the front and had large claws that they used both to scratch in search of roots and tubers as to defend themselves. Their strong jaws consisted of 16 molars (8 in each jaw) lacking enamel.
Habits They were sociable mammals with little habits vegetarian, but now it is not ruled out a omnivory. They were land animals, no doubt because of their size were unable to be present tree as their relatives. Ate in a biped.
Evolution The ground sloths, as with all other xenarthrans, evolved in isolation in South America, while it was an island during the Paleogene. During the Pliocene, the Central American Isthmus formed, causing the Great American Interchange, and a mass extinction of much of the indigenous South American megafauna. Ground sloths were largely unaffected and continued to thrive in spite of competition from the northern immigrants. In fact, ground sloths were among the various South American animal groups to migrate northwards, into North America, where they remained and flourished until the late Pleistocene.