The giant ground sloth or Megatherium is an extinct ground sloth that was endemic to South America during the ice age.
They lived from the early Pliocene till the end of the Pleistocene (the great ice age).
The term Megatherium contains two Greek elements, méga meaning ‘great,’ and theríon meaning ‘beast.’ There are also called megathere.
The Megatherium americanum is the best-known elephant size type species of this genus.
The Megatherium became an extinct animal around 12,000 years ago.
It happened during the extinction event called Quaternary.
It was also observed that one of the reasons for the extinction of this genus was hunting.
One of the prototypical prehistoric sloths of the genus called Megalonyx (giant claws) was scientifically named Megalonyx jeffersonii after the then Vice President of America, Thomas Jefferson, who examined this genus in 1797.
It was in the year 1788 that one of the first fossils specimens of Megatherium was found. Manuel Torres discovered this genus in Argentinian rubber called Luján.
There are several families with more than 80 genera of the extinct ground sloth.
The retrieved fossil of giant ground sloth size was 240 in (6 m) length and 120 in ( 304.8 cm) height.
These were the largest species of ground sloths.
Among the giant ground sloth size facts is that their size was similar to that of an elephant.
The giant ground sloth compared to human size would be much larger.
The weight of these species was 8800 lb (3991.6 kg).
The giant ground sloths are slow-moving creatures.
The exact data on speed is not available.
It is believed that these animals were selective eaters of plant-based food.
Giant ground sloth diet facts from research show that they ate a variety of food like hard grasses, the foliage of trees, yucca, and shrubs.
These ground sloths were found in woodlands, grasslands, temperate, arid, or semiarid open habitats.
They preferred staying in an open region.
They also preferred forest and vegetation with water bodies around.
The reproduction type of these giant sloths was viviparous.
The data on their reproductive cycles are not available.
It is impossible to conclude on this topic due to their extinction.
It was also found that the adults cared for the young ones.
The conservation status of these animals is Extinct.
They became extinct 12,000 years ago, which is known as the last ice age.