Period of life:
South and North America
Megatherium is a sloth gigantic ancestor inhabited South and North America about 2 million years ago. Its bone remains were first recovered in 1787 in Argentina. European museums spent big money to purchase specimens for exhibition of Megatherium skeleton. Up to 19th century Megatherium had no rivals in getting public attention and a giant skeleton widened the eyes of the beholders.
This proto-sloth was twice taller than an average 3-metre elephant. In its upright position Megatherium was 6 metres tall weighing 7 tonnes. Megatherium had flexible spinal column and strong tail. The animal could lean on it whilst standing on hind limbs and pulling down the branches with the fussiest leaves. The body was covered with thick coat. Furthermore, it had firm bony plates under skin protected the animal against predator jaws. The forelimbs had 17 cm claws and developed triceps allowing a perfect protection from any attacker.
In the beginning, Megatherium freely roamed the lands of Brasilia, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile having no rivals. Later, when South and North America connected and formed the Central American Isthmus the animal migrated to North America. Megatherium diet included grass, leaves, roots, yucca, agave and barely flesh. Megatherium went extinct around 10 thousand years ago.