Megatherium (Megatherium Cuvier, 1796)
Temporal range: during the Late Pliocene - Holocene (South America)
Dimensions: length - 6,1 m, height - 250 сm, weight - 2400 - 4000 kg
A typical representative: Megatherium americanum Cuvier, 1796
Megatherium (meaning "Great Beast") was a genus of elephant-sized ground sloths endemic to Central America and South America that lived from the Pliocene through to the Pleistocene existing for approximately 5.3 million years. Its size was exceeded by only a few other land mammals, including mammoths and the even larger Paraceratherium. Megatherium was one of the largest mammals known, weighing up to eight tons, about as much as a bull African Elephant. Although it was primarily a quadruped, its footprints show that it was capable of assuming a bipedal stance. When it stood on its hind legs it was about 6 m tall, twice the height of an elephant. This sloth, like a modern anteater, walked on the sides of its feet because its claws prevented it from putting them flat on the ground. Megatherium species were members of the abundant Pleistocene Megafauna, large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene epoch.