Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Paramylodon harlani
See that skeletal reconstruction? That nearly 10foot tall, monstrously sized creature?

That's a sloth.

An extinct Ground Sloth to be exact. Meet Paramylodon, a distant cousin to the slow tree dwellers we know today. (And by distant... I mean really distant. Their last common ancestor lived about 30 million years ago!)

Paramylodon lived between 5 million and 11,000 years ago, and it's fossils have been found in the United States,  Canada, Mexico, and in Central America. Notable fossils have been found in the La Brea Tar Pits, and many (including those in the image) are on display at the Page Museum there.

One rather interesting fact about Paramylodon is that is had dermal ossicles. This means that they had bony growths under their skin that gave them some extra defense against predators. While there are a few other Ground Sloth species to have that characteristic, it is not common.

Status : Extinct for 11,000 years
Location : North America
Size : Height up to 9.8ft (3m), Weight up to 2,400lbs (1090kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Pilosa
Family : †Mylodontidae -- Genus : †Paramylodon -- Species : †P. harlani
Image : David Monniaux

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