A 50-year-old sloth in a German zoo world has slept her way into the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest known sloth alive. Some believe it may actually be a species of giant ground sloth, once thought extinct but now living in the depths of the forest. Heinrich Harder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Various other smaller species belonging to the subgenus Pseudomegatherium are known from the Andes. Instead, the extinction of the Megatherium seems more to have been the work of the emergence of mankind. Artist’s rendering of what the giant sloth-like mapinguari could have looked like. This gives up pause to wonder what else might be out there, just awaiting rediscovery. For these … One of the skeletons, found in a lava tube (cave) at Aden Crater, adjacent to Kilbourne Hole, New Mexico, still had skin and hair preserved, and is now at the Yale Peabody Museum. that was the best thing i've ever read in my intire internet life, The Megatherium had a narrow mouth possibly for leafs and fruit after an ice age wouldn't those fruits die? It was likely one of the slowest creatures in its environment. The shaggy, ground-dwelling sloths that inhabited almost the entire span of the New World didn’t all topple over at once. Amazing article! As many theorize that the mass extinction event was, in part, caused by human invasion of their habitat, it would make sense that some could survive by avoiding populated areas. Wiki User Answered . These giant ground sloths were thought to have survived in more remote areas for at least another 5,000 years following this extinction, though. Even the mouth in the stomach and horrible stench might not be so far-fetched: Sloths have scent glands, so this “stomach” may simply be exactly that. I find it hard to believe we've missed the existence of elephant sized sloths (that could reach up to 20 feet tall when they stood on their hind legs) living in large groups in sparsely wooded areas. I enjoyed it very much! The legend of the Mapinguari is not only one of the most terrifying monster tales in modern times but may suggest that Megatherium may still roam the jungles of South America. These giant ground sloths were thought to have survived in more remote areas for at least another 5,000 years following this extinction, though. After learning about Megatherium, check out these terrifying prehistoric creatures who weren’t dinosaurs. Some cryptozoologists believe Bigfoot is the evolved remnants from a massive 10-foot ape species called Gigantopithecus. The Mapinguari is a nasty and frightening prehistoric monster, one you surely do not want to tangle with should you meet in a dark corner of the forest. Jmillis2006 from North Carolina on February 07, 2013: Maybe a grouns sloth that is the most reasonable explanation, and even If it is extinct now the legends could have been passed down from before. There are also rediscovered species popping up all the time as well. And on top of that, they say that the Giant Ground Sloths didn't go extinct due to climate change, but do to overhunting by humans. ! Due to its immense size, it’s likely that Megatherium moved slowly like the sloths of today. If you get a sloth's call, slow it down and compare it to that of the mapinguari. 280 members in the Slothfoot community. Along with the sloth, experts also discovered the remains of about 50 other species of animals, including some that are still alive today, such as the deer, bobcat, and raccoon. However, rumors of giant sloths living deep in the jungles of South America have emerged. Without a specimen, live or dead, it is hard for mainstream science to take the Mapinguari too seriously. There is still always the possibility that the Mapinguari may be a new species altogether, separate from the giant sloth and of a category all its own. But then there's the massive claw marks that line the walls and ceilings - it's now thought that an extinct species of giant ground sloth is behind at least some of these so-called palaeoburrows. Turns out, they're far more ancient than they look, estimated to be at least 8,000 to 10,000 years old, and no known geologic process can explain them. Those forests would be their vegan buffet. Some people think its a South American Bigfoot, but an anteater is surely another possibility. In fact, it was in part Megatherium’s resemblance to more modern creatures that got Darwin thinking about his theory of evolution. However, rumors of giant sloths living deep in the jungles of South America have emerged. In addition, the great ground sloth was hunted to extinction. The Megatherium likely lived across the continent of South America, from southern Argentina all the way to Colombia. Megatherium was a genus of giant ground sloth that went extinct thousands of years ago. Asked by Wiki User. If humans did encounter such a creature it may have scared the heck out of them. It’s hard to imagine, but jungles do not give up their secrets easily. It's possible that they retreated into the jungle, but we've found no evidence of ancient sloths doing so. Especially in remote areas of South America that are still majorly uncharted by westerners. These massive animals walked on all fours, but when standing on their hind legs they were over three meters tall. https://exemplore.com/cryptids/Mapinguari-Sightings-Does-Mylodon-Still-Exist Like other giant creatures that disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene period (about 10,000 years ago), Megatherium, its smaller sloth cousin, Mylodon, and other varieties of the giant sloth are now extinct. Well, if they were still alive, they would live in forests or bushy areas found in North and South America. Can't wait for it all t o be discovered!! Humans Drove Giant Sloths to Extinction. It's such an underrated cryptid, and I'm incredibly glad you gave it the recognition it deserved in this article. Those who live in and around the Amazon rainforest have long passed down stories of a dangerous beast they call the “mapinguari,” a giant sloth-like creature who is over seven feet tall, with matted fur and large, sharp claws. The Giant Ground Sloth, or Megatherium (Giant Beast) was an omnivorous relative of the modern-day sloth that lived in Pliocene - Pleistocene South America. Megatherium would have to evolve to the fruit and leafs of the rainforest and the humid rainforest and hide from humans. Even as cryptids go, the Mapinguari is a strange one, more terrifying than some soggy lake monster and much less congenial than a hairy man-ape. Full grown, individual creatures likely weighed upwards of four tons — the weight of the average male elephant — making it the largest land mammal second only to the wooly mammoth. The largest and grandest of these was the Megatherium, the extinct genus of the family Bradypodidae. River dolphins, the ceolecanth, and Russian lions just to name a few. Thet give off a fowl stench when they mark their territories. Initially, he believed that the Megatherium used its claws to climb trees as modern-day sloths did. Is the Mapinguari really a giant ground sloth? Cuvier was intrigued by the sketch of the creature and used it to further explore its anatomy and taxonomy, and over time, he managed to create a more complete picture of the Megatherium’s history. The new data offer definitive evidence for hunting and butchering of Megatherium americanum (giant ground sloth) at 12,600 cal years BP and … However one cannot discount the possibility giant sloths may still exist today in some remote corner of south american cordillera, jungle, forest, or swamp. The giant, red-headed sloth would probably seem more menacing if it was still alive and you suddenly encountered one: 8-to-10 feet long and weighing more than a ton, in addition to being equipped with great claws. But, as legendary creatures go, the Mapinguari is surely one of the most bizarre. It probably walked most of its life on four legs, though it is believed that it could stand on its hind legs in order to reach treetops and high foliage to feed its herbivorous diet. Of course in the world of cryptozoology, which presently is where the Mapinguari stands, there are plenty of examples of alleged prehistoric beasts said to still roam our world, from dinosaurs still alive in Africa, to the superstar of the cryptozoology world, Bigfoot himself. And, of course, the Megatherium went extinct during this time as well. Not to worry though. Despite local sightings and stories, there is little hard evidence, and the forests of South America don't give up their secrets easily. Being that ground sloths disappeared just roughly 10,000 ago, I think it is very possible. Only the small tree sloth survives today. There is reason to believe indians hunted them. Wikimedia CommonsAn artist’s rendering of a now-extinct Megatherium. About Megatherium (the Giant Sloth) Megatherium is the poster genus for the giant megafauna mammals of the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs: this prehistoric sloth was as big as an elephant, about 20 feet long from head to tail and weighing in the neighborhood of two to three tons. cryptid (author) from USA on February 08, 2013: Great point Jmills. But one story gives us hope that the giant ground sloth could still be alive today. So what, or perhaps who, led to this resilient mammalian force’s extinction? cryptid (author) from USA on May 02, 2017: Thanks, Mr Waffles! YouTubeArtist’s rendering of what the giant sloth-like mapinguari could have looked like. I think I have one living at the end of my garden. No way I could have done better! Even the most devout unbeliever would have to admit there is a possibility, no matter how remote, that an extinct species could still live deep in the jungles of the world. Great article btw bro. cryptid (author) from USA on January 05, 2015: Thanks Dylan, and you make some good points! With tremendous claws on its hands and feet used for digging and grabbing vegetation, the claws and “backward-facing feet” of the Mapinguari are easily explained. Mainstream scientists and researchers say this creepy cryptid probably isn’t real, of course. Fresh skin, dung and footprints were discovered in a cave in the Patagonian region of Argentina in 1895. There were … You decide. The Mapinguari isn't quite as famous as Bigfoot, but would be just as amazing of a find. Giant Sloths Once Ruled the Americas Cryptids like the Mapinguari, which seem to have roots in extinct animals, are perhaps the most interesting of all. It’s thought to be a local legend and superstition, nothing more. No. Also, the species that are still around didn't threaten humans in any way, so we didn't hunt them into extinction. The species of sloths that are still around exist because they have become perfectly evolved to their environments, and the environments they thrive in aren't competitive. The sloth would perish, the remains of its last meal still in its paunch. One of the most fascinating groups of giant lemurs were the sloth lemurs. No such creature could actually exist, could it? Though, if accounts of locals are to be believed, you’d likely smell it coming and have ample chance to escape. Here’s a look at how some monsters may prove to be all too real, and massive beasts of the past might just come back to life. Giant ground sloths evolved in South America around 35 million years ago. In looks, it was quite similar to the modern sloth, though with facial characteristics of another one of its descendants, the anteater. Fortunately, for its fellow mammals, the Giant Sloth was restricted to South America, which was cut … Answer. While it was a herbivore, it certainly had the size and tools to threaten away predators or anything it perceived as a danger. 1. Those who live in and around the Amazon rainforest have long passed down stories of a dangerous beast they call the “mapinguari,” a giant sloth-like creature who is over seven feet tall, with matted fur and large, sharp claws. Many large, prehistoric creatures disappeared from North and South American around the same time. Some researchers have an interesting theory about the Mapinguari. The Megatherium was one of the largest ground mammals ever to have existed. Three families of sloths are known, and only two genuses, both of them tree dwellers, are known to have survived to the present day, Dr. Oren said. They easily adapted to new vegetation so it is very possible for them to still be alive, but with a small population of course! The giant ground sloth still living in the form of the Mapinguari might seem like a stretch, but a closer look shows that many of the characteristics certain species of ground sloth exhibit are present in descriptions of the Mapinguari. There, it was assembled into its most likely arrangement and mounted for display. The original specimen found by Manuel Torres on display in Madrid. The Solomon islands are also supposed to be inhabited by some mythical reptilian beast. The Patagonian Giant Sloth: Still Alive? They could tolerate and adapt to various types of plants as well as allegedly nibble on the occasional carcass, which allowed the Megatherium to migrate and thrive all over the continent — for 5.3 million years. I am fascinated by the extinct giant mammals and the sloths in particular. The Giant Ground Sloth, or Megatherium (Giant Beast) was an omnivorous relative of the modern-day sloth that lived in Pliocene - Pleistocene South America. Could the mapinguari be a rare giant ground sloth or one of its ancestors, once thought lost to history but very much alive in the deep jungle? Robert Bruce Horsfall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Staci Stathos from Charleston, SC on February 19, 2013: This was a very interesting hub. Could this extinct giant sloth and the Mapinguari be one and the same? Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting. cryptid (author) from USA on April 14, 2014: The giant ground sloth is a big animal weighting up to 5 tons if this animal still exists i would like to see it so searching for them is the only way to find this large animal and i like large mammals if this creature really exists i would be very happy very indeed. 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