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Temporal range: Early Miocene (Deseadan)-Late Pleistocene (Lujanian)
or Early Holocene (disputed, see text)
~23–0.011 Ma
Paramylodon fossil at Texas Memorial Museum.jpg
Paramylodon harlani at the Texas Memorial Museum, UTA
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Pilosa
Suborder: Folivora
Family: Mylodontidae
Gill, 1872

and see text

Mylodontidae is a family of extinct mammals within the order of Pilosa and suborder Folivora living from around 23 million years ago (Mya) to 11,000 years ago, existing for roughly 23 million years.[1] This family of ground sloths is related to the other families of extinct ground sloths, Megatheriidae and Nothrotheriidae. The only extant families of the suborder Folivora are Bradypodidae and Megalonychidae (the latter has extinct terrestrial species, as well as extant arboreal species). Phylogenetic analyses using homologous sequences from all extant xenarthran groups indicate that the Mylodontidae were more closely related to the Megalonychidae than to the Bradypodidae.[2]

The mylodontids together with their relatives form the Mylodonta, the second radiation of ground sloths. The discovery of their fossils in caverns associated with human occupation lead some early researchers to theorize that the early humans built corrals when they could procure a young ground sloth, to raise the animal to butchering size.[3] However, radiocarbon dates do not support simultaneous occupation of the site by humans and sloths.[4] Subfossil remains like coproliths, fur and skin have been discovered in some quantities.

Family: Mylodontidae Gill, 1872[edit]


  1. ^ Mylodontidae: Paleobiology Database
  2. ^ Hoss, Matthias; Dilling, Amrei; Currant, Andrew; Paabo, Svante (9 Jan 1996). "Molecular phylogeny of the extinct ground sloth Mylodon darwinii". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 93 (1): 181–185. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.1.181. PMC 40202. PMID 8552600. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  3. ^ Woodward (1900)
  4. ^ Naish, Darren (28 Nov 2005). "Fossils explained 51: Sloths". Geology Today. 21 (6): 232–238. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2451.2005.00538.x. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
  5. ^ Rincón, Ascanio D.; Solórzano, Andrés; McDonald, H. Gregory; Flores, Mónica Núñez (7 April 2016). "Baraguatherium takumara, Gen. et Sp. Nov., the Earliest Mylodontoid Sloth (Early Miocene) from Northern South America". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 24 (2): 179–191. doi:10.1007/s10914-016-9328-y.
Mylodontidae fossils at La Plata Museum, Argentina.


  • Woodward, A.S. (1900): On some remains of Grypotherium (Neomylodon) listai and associated mammals from a cavern near Consuelo Cove, Last Hope Inlet. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1900(5): 64-79.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brandoni, Diego; Gustavo J. Scillato Yané; Ángel R. Miño Boilini, and Emmanuel Favotti. 2016. Los Tardigrada (Mammalia, Xenarthra) de Argentina: diversidad, evolución y biogeografía. Contribuciones del MACN _. 263–274. Accessed 2018-10-08.
  • Cuvier, G. (1796): Notice sur le squellette d'une très grande espèce de quadrupède inconnue jusqu'à présent, trouvé au Paraquay, et déposé au cabinet d'histoire naturelle de Madrid. Magasin encyopédique, ou Journal des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts (1): 303-310; (2): 227-228.
  • De Iuliis, G. & Cartelle, C. (1999): A new giant megatheriine ground sloth (Mammalia: Xenarthra: Megatheriidae) from the late Blancan to early Irvingtonian of Florida. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 127(4): 495-515.
  • Harrington, C.R. (1993): Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center - Jefferson's Ground Sloth. Retrieved 2008-JAN-24.
  • Hogan, C.M. (2008): Cueva del Milodon, Megalithic Portal. Retrieved 2008-APR-13
  • Kurtén, Björn and Anderson, Elaine (1980): Pleistocene Mammals of North America. Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 0-231-03733-3
  • McKenna, Malcolm C. & Bell, Susan K. (1997): Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 0-231-11013-8
  • Nowak, R.M. (1999): Walker's Mammals of the World (Vol. 2). Johns Hopkins University Press, London.
  • White, J.L. (1993): Indicators of locomotor habits in Xenarthrans: Evidence for locomotor heterogeneity among fossil sloths. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 13(2): 230-242.
  • White, J.L. & MacPhee, R.D.E. (2001): The sloths of the West Indies: a systematic and phylogenetic review. In: Woods, C.A. & Sergile, F.E. (eds.): Biogeography of the West Indies: Patterns and Perspectives: 201-235.

External links[edit]