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Temporal range: Late Pliocene - Early Holocene, 4.9–0.011 Ma
WLA hmns Giant ground sloth 2.jpg
E. laurillardi at the HMNS
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Pilosa
Family: Megatheriidae
Subfamily: Megatherinae
Tribe: Megatheriini
Subtribe: Megatheriina
Genus: Eremotherium
Spillmann, 1948
  • E. laurillardi Lund 1842
  • E. eomigrans De Iullis & Cartelle 1999
  • E. rusconi (Schaub 1935)

Eremotherium is an extinct genus of ground sloth of the family Megatheriidae, endemic to North America and South America during the Pleistocene epoch. It lived from 4.9 mya—11,000 years ago existing (as a genus) for approximately 4.889 million years.[1]

E. rusconi reached a length up to 6 m (20 ft) and a weight of more than 3 tonnes.[2]


Eremotherium was named by Spillmann (1948) and was assigned to Megatheriinae by Gaudin (1995); and to Megatheriidae by Spillmann (1948), Carroll (1988) and Cisneros (2005).

Fossil distribution[edit]

Fossils have been uncovered from Volusia County, Florida, Chatham County, Georgia; Berkeley County, South Carolina; Espirito Santo; and Pedra Preta, Brazil; Tarapoto, Peru (giant form); Rio Canas, Ecuador.[3]


E. eomigrans[edit]

Claw of Eremotherium eomigrans at MUSE - Science Museum in Trento

E. eomigrans was named by De Iulis and Cartelle (1999). E. eomigrans was assumed to have been restricted to Florida, as most fossil specimens have been recovered from that area. However, in 1993, another specimen was recovered in North Carolina.[4] It lived from 4.9 mya—300,000 years ago (4.6 million years).

E. laurillardi[edit]

E. laurillardi mounts in the Smithsonian

E. laurillardi, sometimes called the Panamerican ground sloth, was named by Lund (1842). It was previously considered a nomen dubium by Hoffstetter (1952), Gazin (1957) and Paula Couto (1979); it was recombined as Eremotherium laurillardi by Hoffstetter (1954), Cartelle and Bohorquez (1982), Cartelle and De Iuliis (1995) and Hulbert and Pratt (1998).[5][6] Fossil distribution was from the southern U.S. to Brazil. It lived from 780,000—11,000 years ago (0.769 million years).

Fossil distribution

  • Fossilossa Site, Chatham County, Georgia. est. age ~2.0 Mya—400,000 years ago.
  • Isle of Hope, Chatham County, Georgia. est. age ~2.0 Mya.
  • Edisto Island, South Carolina est. age 400,000 years ago.
  • El Bosque, Nicaragua. est. age ~2.3—400,000 years ago.[7]
  • Masachapa, Nicaragua. est. age ~23.03 Mya.
  • La Coca, Panama. est. age ~500,000—400,000 years ago.
  • Zumbador Cave aka Cueva del Zumbador, Falcon, Venezuela. est. age ~1.8 Mya—11,000 years ago.
  • Cucuruchu, Venezuela. est. age ~125,000—11,000 years ago.
  • Rio Canas Site, Manabi, Ecuador. est. age ~781,000—11,000 years ago.
  • Lagoa do Ipu Site, Ceara; Lage Grande-Level 1 & 2 Pernambuco, (Brazil. est. age ~1.8 Mya—11,000 years ago.
  • Toca da Janela da Barra do Antoniao and Lagoa Sao Vitor Piaui, Brazil. est. age ~126,000—11,000 years ago.
  • Toca da Esperanca, Bahia, Brazil. est. age ~126,000—11,000 years ago. est. age ~291,000 +/-84,000—204,000 years ago +/- 34,000.[8]


  1. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Eremotherium, basic info
  2. ^ Kürten, Björn (1980) Pleistocene mammals of North America p.140
  3. ^ Paleobiology Database: Panthera onca mesembrina, collections.
  4. ^ Fields, Steven E., et al. "THE GROUND SLOTHS (PILOSA) OF SOUTH CAROLINA." PalArch's Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 9.3 (2012).
  5. ^ C. Cartelle and G. De Iuliis. 1995. Eremotherium laurillardi: the Panamerican late Pleistocene megatheriid sloth. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
  6. ^ C. L. Gazin. 1957. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 134
  7. ^ W. D. Page. 1978. The geology of the El Bosque archaeological site, Nicaragua. Early Man in America from a Circum-pacific Perspective 231-260
  8. ^ H. Lumley, M.-A. Lumley, M. C. Moraes Coutinho Beltrao, Y. Yokoyama, J. Labeyrie, J. Danon, G. Delibrias, C. Falgueres, and J. L. Bischoff. 1987. L'Anthropologie 91:917-942
  • Dinosaur Encyclopedia by Jayne Parsons
  • After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) by Donald R. Prothero