Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Megatherium, a gigantic representative of the Edentata (q.v.), found fossil in Pleistocene rocks in America. The best known species, M. americanum, had a body 13 feet long, which was equal in bulk to that of the elephant, but with shorter limbs and with a powerful tail 5 feet long. The skull and teeth resemble those of the sloths; the rest of the body that of the ant-eaters. The first digit of the hand and two of the toes were aborted, and three fingers of each hand and one toe of each foot have enormous claws. The fore-limbs are longer than the hind ones, anrl the heel in the latter projects almost as far backwards as the foot does forward. The animal undoubtedly fed upon leaves, sitting up and clawing them down. Complete skeletons from Buenos Ayres are in the Natural History Museum and in that of the College of Surgeons, and smaller species have been found in Brazil, Georgia, and South Carolina.