The order Pilosa is a group of placentalmammals, extant today only in the Americas. It includes the anteaters and sloths, including the extinct ground sloths, which went extinct about 20,000 years ago. The name comes from the Latin word for "hairy". Pilosans are good examples of ecological harmony. Anteaters, for example, feed lightly and for a short time at any one ant nest, allowing the colony to regrow easily. Also, sloths' fur is home to many insects, as well as a type of algae that helps camouflage the sloths.
Together with the armadillos, which are in the order Cingulata, pilosans are part of the larger superorder Xenarthra, a defining characteristic of which is the presence of xenarthrals (extra formations between lumbar vertebrae). In the past, Pilosa was regarded as a suborder of the order Xenarthra, while some more recent classifications regard Pilosa as an order within the superorder Xenarthra. Earlier still, both armadillos and pilosans were classified together with pangolins and the aardvark as the order Edentata (meaning toothless, because the members do not have front incisor teeth or molars, or have poorly developed molars). Edentata was subsequently realized to be polyphyletic; it contained unrelated families and was thus invalid.