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Numerous opinions need to be removed, otherwise looks good.--Easterlingman 19:35, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

The plural of θήρ is θηρóς. Latinising it to theria is questionable. 80.255 22:07, 12 September 2005 (UTC)


...with African elephant, regarding tonnage

It says that is scavenged kills and/or hunted, and then says it wasan herbivore... this needs to be corrected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I moved 'Megatheriinae and cryptozoology' to the Mylodon article. The accounts there are about the Mylodon, not Megatherium, the preserved hide especially.

Are you Suuuuure?[edit]

Are you sure that Sid was a giant sloth? I mean, he could have been a young one, but still he would have been half the size of Manny, if they could reach twenty feet tall on two legs, as Sid is constantly standing on.

I'm sure Sid was a giant sloth, but I don't know how accurate the movie was. Jonathan W 03:19, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Well...Sid is a ground sloth, but not sure if he's a giant sloth... 06:35, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Sid is a ground a sloth and appears to essentially be based on Nothrotheriops with additional characters of Megalonyx Doc Sloth (talk) 16:25, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

What contradiction?[edit]

Am I missing something? The African elephant (or rather Loxodonta) article doesn't seem to say anything about the Megatherium. As one would expect.


There's also an allusion to the Megatherium in George Eliot's Middlemarch.

From Chapter 6 (part of the narrator's discussion of Mrs. Cadwallader): "All the more did the affairs of the great world interest her, when communicated in the letters of high-born relations: the way in which fascinating younger sons had gone to the dogs by marrying their mistresses; the fine old-blooded idiocy of young Lord Tapir, and the furious gouty humors of old Lord Megatherium; the exact crossing of genealogies which had brought a coronet into a new branch and widened the relations of scandal,--these were topics of which she retained details with the utmost accuracy, and reproduced them in an excellent pickle of epigrams, which she herself enjoyed the more because she believed as unquestionably in birth and no-birth as she did in game and vermin." 06:13, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

There's an allusion in Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Wimsey mysteries to "..the great Megatherium crash.." in the stock exchange. Referred to in <ital>Strong Poison</ital> , and other works of Sayers.

Also mentioned in the movie Lost Horizon — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Just to remind people, "In Popular Culture" should not be a trivia list of "Spot the Monster of the Week" or worse yet, a trivia list of insignificant mentions.--Mr Fink (talk) 15:10, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
That, and why should this article mention that Megatherium was mentioned in Lost Horizon when the Wikipedia article for the movie does not mention such a mention?--Mr Fink (talk) 15:12, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Giants in Patagonia[edit]

I saw an episode on the History Channel seried, Digging for the Truth (Josh Bernstein), called "Giants of Patagonia" that explored the megatherium and the mylodon. The show said that the megatherium was around 6 meters tall.

Theriously, now[edit]

The plural of θήρ is not θηρóς in classical Greek. θηρóς is the genitive singular. Θηρες is the nominative plural. θήρ is a third declension noun. If I remember correctly, there is no nominative plural in classical Greek that ends in –óς.

The -ia (or -a) ending is a perfectly legitimate neuter plural ending in both Latin and classical Greek. It occurs in other taxonomical terms, such as Loxodonta.

Yeap. Plural for therio (θηρίο) is theria (θηρίο). In modern and ancient greek thera (θήρα) means hunting and it is etymologically related to therio (which actually means "subject to hunting" or "to be hunted" or "game" - strictly reffering to its hunting meaning-). The word therium is not greek (nor latin I think) but is most propably a classical combound used by scientists though it can be traced down in biblical references of the beast of the apocalypse as a latinization of the word therio.-- (talk) 05:56, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Six Claws?[edit]

That sounds quite remarkable, it would be the only mammalian species with more than 5 digits if it were true, unless it was a panda-like pseudodigit. Can somebody provide a reference for that statement? Cameron 13:25, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Well according to the Ground Sloth page there is in fact a species with an extra digit, but it has 5 digits and 4 claws instead of 4 digits and 3 claws. Somebody made an assumption... Cameron 13:42, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Darwin & Megatherium[edit]

Charles Darwin discovered a fossil of some species of Megathere in South America in the 1830s. Was he the first naturalist to find such a beast? It seems likely that locals had been finding fossils of them before but disregarded them.

MrG -- 4 Nov 06

Specimens of Megatherium were recovered and described at least 40 years previously by Cuvier. It's quite likely that it was local South American's finding the fossils but the significance of any such finds were unknown until publication by the Europeans. Just the way it was back in the 1700s Doc Sloth (talk) 16:28, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Giant Monsters[edit]

How did the Megatherium defend itself from the Smilodon? I mean, how did they show it like? Dora Nichov 10:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Just curious... (But I really do want an answer...) Dora Nichov 10:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

the same way an elephant defends itself from a lion--sin-man 09:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

i have read that they would swipe their claws Cieltsd 00:45, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Mind, dangerous as they are, elephants are sometimes hunted and killed by lions. Is it then safe to assert that Megatherium (the size of an elephant) was "far too large" for Smilodon (bigger than a lion)? Orcoteuthis (talk) 22:35, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


Without captions the gallery seems to be fairly pointless. As someone unfamiliar with this subject they are not self explanatory. If indeed they demonstrate important points they should be integrated with the article and captioned. What do they add that is not already shown by the skeleton photo in the article?Beligaronia (talk) 09:15, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Herbivore or omnivore?[edit]

Megatherium is described as a herbivore, but the article states that it may have scavenged and hunted Glyptodon, and possibly scavenged from Smilodon kills. Since I assume that animals only scavenge in order to eat, then would it not be more accurate to describe Megatherium as an omnivore? (talk) 13:40, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

It would not be more accurate. There is no hard evidence that any scavenging behavior did occur or that it compromised a sizeable portion of the animal's diet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Doc sloth (talkcontribs) 15:29, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

That makes sense, thanks. It just seemed a bit weird when I read it. (talk) 22:59, 20 December 2008 (UTC)


In the "Walking With Beasts" series, it was said that Megatherium had small bones or something like that which acted "as a chainmail"... It is not mentioned here, is it true or not? --arny (talk) 17:46, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

From what I can find in a quick search of the literature, osteoderms (bony armour embedded in the skin) are known in mylodontid ground sloths, but not Megatherium itself. One paper states it's likely that osteoderms are a primitive feature for Xenartha, since they're known in both sloths, armadillos, glyptodonts, etc., suggesting they arose from a common ancestor. However Megatherium is more closely related to modern sloths than to mylodonts, and modern sloths lack osteoderms, so it's likely theis line had already lost them by the time Megatherium evolved. I can't find anything saying osteoderms have ever been associated with Megatherium remains. So, some ground sloths had them, others didn't--this one probably didn't. Dinoguy2 (talk) 21:09, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Improper link[edit]

Removed the link to Richard Farina, as the link actually directs to folk-singer Richard Fariña with no disambiguation. (talk) 18:55, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello TheGrimReaper_NS, you're reverting my edits and claim on your user page that you fight against vandalism. While this is a laudable goal, my edit is clearly not vandalism; I have stated in the discussion why I am making the edits before I made them. Please post here as to why you want the link to Richard Farina to remain in the article even though it directs to an article of a folk-singer who died in 1966, and not the paleontologist who made the claim in 1997. I realize it is HG but you need to justify why it is being used in this manner. (talk) 19:03, 19 October 2009 (UTC)


It says the same height as an african elephant at 20 feet. Since when have elephants ever got that big? Thats bigger than mammoths and deinotherium, the largest elephant rlatives ever!. Spinodontosaurus (talk) 18:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Did you ever see an elephant rear up on its hindlegs before?--Mr Fink (talk) 18:50, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Radiocarbon years =/= BP?[edit]

Hi, I originally changed radiocarbon years to BP since this can be found on both articles.

From the Radiocarbon dating article:

Raw, i.e., uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" (BP)

From the Before Present article:

Beginning in 1954, metrologists established 1950 as the origin year for the BP scale for use with radiocarbon dating, using a 1950-based reference sample of oxalic acid.
...The ages are expressed in years before present (BP) where "present" is defined as AD 1950.

So yes, they are the same. Mike.BRZ (talk) 21:05, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

The problem here is the need to distinguish between uncalibrated and calibrated radiocarbon dates. Please see the discussion under Radiocarbon dating#The need for calibration. Calibrated radiocarbon years would be equivalent to calendar years if the calibration was perfect, but in practice there might be a large error bar, and the actual date would change as the calibration curve is refined, so academic researchers tend to use uncalibrated radiocarbon dates. In the paper cited, "years BP" has been defined to mean uncalibrated radiocatrbon years BP, which is not the same as calendar years BP, as a casual reader might assume. WolfmanSF (talk) 23:24, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Didn't read that section (huge mistake in my part) so I stand corrected, though I have seen the use of BP in other articles, but if we have to distinguish them to account for the possible error margins then you're right and those other articles are wrong too. Mike.BRZ (talk) 05:50, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
My initial edit summary wasn't quite right - the problem isn't in using "BP", but in using it alone, without mentioning that it is an (uncalibrated) radiocarbon date. In general, this is a common source of confusion in going from scientific papers to popular articles and summaries. WolfmanSF (talk) 06:52, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

New to this section, but I got to address this![edit]

Ok, so I have been doing my research on the Mrgatherium for years now and I just would like to point out that there is a massive dispute on when the Megatherium went extinct. Some scientists believe that they went extinct as recent as 1500, around the time the Spanish arrived. Same with the Mylodon. Actually, many say that the Mylodon(Mapinguari) is still alive!

Here is my first source: . I will cite more sources later. But I am logging off for tonight. Peace ☮ Keeby101 (talk) 05:38, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, but that is not reliable information. There is no scientific data in terms of carbon dating to support such a late extinction. WolfmanSF (talk) 17:39, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Like I said, I will cite more sources later. (talk) 05:15, 28 July 2013 (UTC) Keeby101 (talk) 13:15, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Megatherium could walk on two legs, and was semi bipedal.[edit]

The article needs an update in the section on locomotion. Recent studies on track ways, and bone strength tests have suggested that Megatherium could adapt to semi to routine Bipedal locomotion when it felt like it, not unlike that of a giant pangolin.

-- (talk) 12:00, 12 September 2013 (UTC)


Shouldn't "Late Pliocene to Late Pleistocene" in the Infobox be changed to "Late Pliocene to Early Holocene"? The Holocene began 11,700 years ago. The Infobox itself says (according to estimates) that Megatherium went extinct 10,000 years ago. Jackakraw (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 16:52, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Done. WolfmanSF (talk) 17:29, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

First named fossil?[edit]

I wrote a short section about Megatherium's discovery, since I found it a bit odd that such a major animal doesn't have such a section. However, before I (try to) add it to the article, I'm confused about one particular thing: was Megatherium the first fossil animal to receive a scientific name?

I'm aware that it was the first fossil mammal to be given a scientific name: that much is stated a couple of the sources I used. But I can't find out if it was the first fossil animal overall to receive a name, and even then I'm not sure if it would count as original research, since I can't find such a statement anywhere. Ichthyosaurus and Mosasaurus were named in the early 1800's. I know that Megalosaurus was named as Scrotum humanum a couple of decades before Megatherium, if that even counts. The Mosasaurus page states that Mosasaurus was the first fossil reptile to receive a name, so I'm guessing it doesn't?

The history of palaeontology article mentions mammoths and mastodons being the first fossil animals truly studied, again by Cuvier, before Megatherium, but the article doesn't say he named them at that time. But if Megatherium was the first to be named, I would have thought that such a significant fact would be mentioned somewhere on this article.

I've tried researching it, but Google seems to think that by "fossil" I mean "dinosaur". Jackakraw (talk) 06:11, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Here's at least one fossil mammal that was described before: Ursus spelaeus, 1794. I doubt a vertebrate would be the scientifically first named fossil. "Scrotum" is pre-Linnean, and it was not meant as a scientific name, so it doesn't count either way. FunkMonk (talk) 10:25, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Elephas americanus is even earlier, 1792. It was later placed in the unique genus Mammut. The problem with trying to sort this out is that the earliest interpretations of pretty much all fossil animals (until Pterodactylus antiquus I think, which was the first one known that clearly differed from anything alive today) was as ancient representatives of modern types (genera), so the earliest scientific names would mostly have been as new species of existing genera. Megatherium appears to be an exception, though even there it was initially considered a type of lion. Dinoguy2 (talk) 11:40, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Right, thanks for clearing that up, both of you. Jackakraw (talk) 20:42, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Overly technical[edit]

This is largely incomprehensible to at least 99.99% of the population and doesn't belong in Wikipedia:

"a rigidly articulated stylohyal and epihyal, and the apparatus lies farther anteriorly, which together with the elongated, steeply inclined mandibular symphysis, indicates a relatively shorter geniohyoid muscle and thus more limited capacity for tongue protrusion"

I.e., some scientists, based on the head bones, don't think it could stick its tongue out very far. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Yes. Feel free to rewrite it. FunkMonk (talk) 10:03, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

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