cryptid (author) from USA on May 20, 2013: Thanks for the kind words Diana and Mel! But one story gives us hope that the giant ground sloth could still be alive today. This gives up pause to wonder what else might be out there, just awaiting rediscovery. It's such an underrated cryptid, and I'm incredibly glad you gave it the recognition it deserved in this article. I am fascinated by the extinct giant mammals and the sloths in particular. Great Ground Sloths lived in the grasslands, and also lived in large groups. Artist’s rendering of what the giant sloth-like mapinguari could have looked like. Humongous cave bears, saber-toothed tigers, and massive-antlered Irish elk roam the grasslands and forests of South America, but the biggest of all is the Megatherium, an elephant-sized ground sloth. There were … Despite local sightings and stories, there is little hard evidence, and the forests of South America don't give up their secrets easily. There are certainly a few viable theories attempting to explain the Mapinguari sightings in South America. Giant ground sloths preferred forests along rivers or lakes, but they also lived during the Pleistocene period, also known as the Great Ice Age. The Megatherium dominated the continent’s southern grasslands and lightly forested areas and was something of a king of the mammals for thousands of years before a mass extinction event wiped it from the planet. Especially in remote areas of South America that are still majorly uncharted by westerners. However, rumors of giant sloths living deep in the jungles of South America have emerged. Stomach-mouth aside, the description of the mapinguari is actually quite similar to descriptions of the Megatherium, and indeed several drawings of the mapinguari are hard to discern from those of the Megatherium. How was the shasta ground sloth's carcass discovered after its plummet into such a forbidding place so many millennia ago? 1/7. Is the Mapinguari really a giant ground sloth? The importance of the mylondonte/giant sloth is that it may be the legendary Mapinguari of South America. Being that ground sloths disappeared just roughly 10,000 ago, I think it is very possible. Staci Stathos from Charleston, SC on February 19, 2013: This was a very interesting hub. The new data offer definitive evidence for hunting and butchering of Megatherium americanum (giant ground sloth) at 12,600 cal years BP and … im here justtocomment on August 26, 2020: i live in brazil and here there are not that many sightings but still are very overlooked this idea i tink the odds are high but hey platypus and pandas were too and this helped me do my homework i have an scientific name idea genus neomylodon species n.mapinguari. cryptid (author) from USA on January 03, 2013: Hannah: Some sources call the Mapinguari a Bigfoot-like creature, but I think your right that it's probably a giant ground sloth. If so, how can this be? The Megatherium likely lived across the continent of South America, from southern Argentina all the way to Colombia. 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.Only the small tree sloth survives today. While it was a herbivore, it certainly had the size and tools to threaten away predators or anything it perceived as a danger. In this paper, Cuvier theorized that the Megatherium was a giant sloth, perhaps an early ancestor of the modern equivalent. A continent where Megatherium originally came from and thrived for millions of years until driven to near extinction by ancient men. Whatever the reasons for their disappearance, scientists have long believed that the elephant-sized sloths have been out of commission for at least 4,000 years. Honoring the man who described it, the most famous species is today known as Megalonyx jeffersoni, and is the state fossil … 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. They survived 5,000-6,000 years longer in the Caribbean than on the American mainland, which correlates with the later colonization of this area by humans. Meet The Megatherium: The Adorable 13-Foot Sloth That Ruled The Prehistoric Amazon. It gave birth to live young, as most other mammals do, and likely continued living in familial groups while their young matured. Wikimedia CommonsAnother artist rendering of two Megatherium. cryptid (author) from USA on February 08, 2013: Great point Jmills. Well, if they were still alive, they would live in forests or bushy areas found in North and South America. Ground sloths had been extinct on the mainland of North and South America for 10,000 years or more. share. It's possible that they retreated into the jungle, but we've found no evidence of ancient sloths doing so. 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. Human activity may have caused giant sloths and other large mammals in North America to go extinct 11,000 years ago. There, it was assembled into its most likely arrangement and mounted for display. Is Megatherium still alive, somewhere out there? With further study, scientists began to discover its habitat, diet, and reproductive cycle, and the picture became ever clearer. thank you cryptid i have been intersted in this animal for a while and all i can say is the only thing that it could be is a ground sloth. YouTubeArtist’s rendering of what the giant sloth-like mapinguari could have looked like. Their demise is attributed to the destruction of the mangrove forests on their island off the coast of Panama. Some cryptozoologists believe Bigfoot is the evolved remnants from a massive 10-foot ape species called Gigantopithecus. Some experts have theorized that the initial mapinguari sightings many years ago may, in fact, have been Megatherium that survived extinction by sequestering themselves within the shelter of the rainforest. 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. Due to its immense size, it’s likely that Megatherium moved slowly like the sloths of today. Some more creative versions of the animal claim it to have one eye in the center of its head and tough skin that deflects arrows. Could this extinct giant sloth and the Mapinguari be one and the same? River dolphins, the ceolecanth, and Russian lions just to name a few. When Thomas Jefferson des… Megatherium (/ mɛɡəˈθɪəriəm / meg-ə-THEER-ee-əm from the Greek mega [μέγας], meaning "great", and therion [θηρίον], "beast") is an extinct genus of ground sloths endemic to South America that lived from the Early Pliocene through the end of the Pleistocene. I don't see any clues in the video that the mylondonte may still be alive. With this explanation, a picture of the Megatherium as it existed began to form; a sloth the size of an elephant, with giant, powerful claws, that lived mostly on and under the ground. Another possibility is that it anctaly COULD be a giant ground sloth considering approximately 1/3 of the world's current mammals were considared to be extinct. Ground Sloths and … 1. 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. 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. according to eye witnesses mapinguari is a ground sloth and every eye witnesses reports the claws, eyes,fur are very similar to the animal. Amazing article! They ranged in size from about 4 feet long to over 20 ft. long. However, it could always be the case that the Megatherium truly did go extinct all those years ago and that the mapinguari, with its fetid breath and giant stomach-mouth, is truly roaming the Amazon and we are all in terrible danger. Scientists are still not entirely sure what accounts for this mass extinction as it does occur simultaneously with glacial-interglacial climate change. This is even true of Bigfoot as relates to Gigantopithecus as well as the Mapingauri and megatherium. Wikimedia CommonsAn artist’s rendering of a now-extinct Megatherium. 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. In fact, there is a name for species that go extinct or disappear from the fossil record and then reappear again: Lazarus Taxon. I do think the most intriguing idea is a remnant population of some type of giant ground sloth. https://exemplore.com/cryptids/Mapinguari-Sightings-Does-Mylodon-Still-Exist Giant ground sloths evolved in South America around 35 million years ago. Indeed, Megatherium fossils have been found with cut marks on them, suggesting that they were hunted by humans. cryptid (author) from USA on May 02, 2017: Thanks, Mr Waffles! If the Megatherium truly did evade extinction, then the modern-day interpretation of the mapinguari is most likely an exaggerated report blown out of proportion through a generations-long game of telephone. The mapinguari could also be an anteater that has reared up. Then, read about what killed history’s scariest shark. That's a big theory regarding many legendary creatures. When the first remains of Megatherium were discovered in 1788, they were believed to have belonged to a living animal, an enormous mole which had burrowed to the surface by accident, and been scorched to death by the sun. Robert Bruce Horsfall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. According to Bernard Heuvelmans, after the fossils had been studied and revealed as a giant sloth, the King of Spain instructed explorers to capture a live Megatheriumfor him. 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. Not recognized as a distinct species until 2001, the pygmy is one of the most endangered mammals in the world. Megalonyx jeffersonii, of the family Megalonychidae, was a large, heavily built animal about 8 … How 'Tank Man' Became An Enduring Symbol Of Resistance At The Tiananmen Square Protests, Inside The Life Of Calamity Jane: The Wild West's Most Notorious Frontierswoman, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. 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. These massive animals walked on all fours, but when standing on their hind legs they were over three meters tall. Mylodon, a giant ground sloth. Is the massive Megatherium ground sloth still alive in South America? In roughly 8,500 B.C., the earth experienced a “Quaternary extinction event” during which most of the earth’s large mammals disappeared. The giant sloths were herbivores that could stand up on their hind legs to grasp tree branches with their thick claws and snack on leaves. 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 prototypical prehistoric sloth, the Giant Ground Sloth (genus name Megalonyx, pronounced MEG-ah-LAH-nix) was named by future American president Thomas Jefferson in 1797, after he examined some bones forwarded to him from a cave in West Virginia. No such creature could actually exist, could it? The Solomon islands are also supposed to be inhabited by some mythical reptilian beast. Instead, the extinction of the Megatherium seems more to have been the work of the emergence of mankind. Roughly the size of a newborn human baby, the pygmy three-toed sloth is the smallest and slowest of sloths in the world. The Mapinguari seems to be ripped straight from a science fiction movie or horror story. This is one of if not the best article I've seen written about Mapinguari. Initially, he believed that the Megatherium used its claws to climb trees as modern-day sloths did. Megalonyx was one of two giant ground slots that used to roam (or lumber around) the Midwest during the Pleistocene epoch. I think I have one living at the end of my garden. Some believe it may actually be a species of giant ground sloth, once thought extinct but now living in the depths of the forest. Before long, the fossil caught the eye of esteemed French paleontologist Georges Cuvier. 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? Scientists are still not entirely sure what accounts for this mass extinction as it does occur simultaneously … 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. Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting. Plesiosaurs were marine reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. 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. 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. Palentologists say giant ground sloths such as Megatherium died off thousands of years ago, at the end of the last ice age. Though he did not immediately recognize it, he deemed it worth further study and sent it back to his base of study at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (The Spanish National Museum of Natural History) in Madrid, Spain. There is reason to believe indians hunted them. These giant ground sloths were thought to have survived in more remote areas for at least another 5,000 years following this extinction, though. Fortunately, for its fellow mammals, the Giant Sloth was restricted to South America, which was cut … 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? The Mylondonte fits the description of the Mapinguari like a glove. Heinrich Harder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. It was likely one of the slowest creatures in its environment. Many large, prehistoric creatures disappeared from North and South American around the same time. In looks, it was quite similar to the modern sloth, though with facial characteristics of another one of its descendants, the anteater. But, as legendary creatures go, the Mapinguari is surely one of the most bizarre. 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. Giant Sloth still alive? Further, the Megatherium wasn’t much of a picky eater. Could a population of giant ground sloths have managed to survive, deep in the dark jungles of South America, undiscovered by modern science for thousands of years? Scientists have found fossils dating back to over 11,000 years ago that belong to the giant Megatherium sloth, proving it did once exist. The Coelacanth is the best-known example of a Lazarus Taxon. I appreciate the kind words. 13 comments. 1. I enjoyed it very much! Though, if accounts of locals are to be believed, you’d likely smell it coming and have ample chance to escape. 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. No. Ground sloths were vegetarians, so if you’re wandering around the jungles of Brazil you probably have nothing to fear, unless you’re dressed like a plant. 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. I'd also suggest that this creature was not necessarily docile. For this article we will focus on the largest species, Megatherium. The Megatherium lived in large groups, though individual fossils have been found in isolated locations such as caves. The sloth would perish, the remains of its last meal still in its paunch. But, there might still be giant ground sloths living in and around the Amazon rainforest sprawling 2, 123, 582 square miles located in South America. Like the Mapinguari, ground sloths were big, smelly, and ferocious. 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. The shaggy, ground-dwelling sloths that inhabited almost the entire span of the New World didn’t all topple over at once. As a slow-moving animal, it needed such defenses to fend off predators like the giant short-faced bear. The giant ground sloth is a species of extinct mammals in the Megatheriidae family. 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. Great article btw bro. The Mapinguari is indeed a weird critter! It would not be until 1788 that the Megatherium would be seen again after the mass extinction event that wiped out pre-historic animals like the wooly mammoth and saber-toothed tiger, too. A creature from the past returning to our world is not something all that bizarre and unprecedented. Monster Sightings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbzp0jzF2HU&list=PLB5DTPOnuwvMLXi57ERLyHdQN1ok3PlkJ A museum employee also created a thorough sketch of the animal to further study it. In the field of cryptozoology, this is the holy grail. Around 8 million years ago, they migrated into North America, according to the San Diego Natural History Museum. The name was proposed by Thomas Jefferson in 1797, based on fossil specimens found in a cave in West Virginia. 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. In addition, the great ground sloth was hunted to extinction. Humans Drove Giant Sloths to Extinction By Betsy Mason Aug. 1, 2005 , … If you get a sloth's call, slow it down and compare it to that of the mapinguari. The original specimen found by Manuel Torres on display in Madrid. They claim it tramples foliage and brush and roars out of a giant, second mouth on its stomach. The gigantic herbivores didn’t have to compete with smaller mammals for food as they had the advantage of height and procuring food from distances that smaller mammals simply couldn’t. With so much unexplored, Megatherium could still be out there. 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. The Mapinguari is said to give off a horrific scent. Mel Carriere from San Diego California on May 18, 2013: Who knows what lurks in the depths of the jungle? Great Job! Some people now think that it may have been alive in the 1800s. Taken from Joe Rogan Experience #1240 w/Forrest Galante: https://youtu.be/OT0ZIq-yWEM The giant sloth, or mylodon, was once thought to to have gone extinct long before humans arrived in South America. It was then that an archaeologist named Manuel Torres discovered a rare fossil specimen on the banks of the Luján River in eastern Argentina. 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. In fact, it was in part Megatherium’s resemblance to more modern creatures that got Darwin thinking about his theory of evolution. With interests in science and nature, I explores topics from a unique and sometimes controversial perspective. It’s allegedly a carnivore, and devoured herds of cattle, but never has there been a documented assault on a human. 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. There are also rediscovered species popping up all the time as well. Wikimedia CommonsThe original specimen found by Manuel Torres on display in Madrid. If they existed at some time in human history, there could be stories passed down verbally, particularly among native tribes. Those forests would be their vegan buffet. Is the Mapinguari really a giant ground sloth? In it they had posted a video that was in Spanish regarding some evidence found that points to a living Giant Sloth I'll re post the video here . The discovery of a new animal, especially one this bizarre, would send researchers into the jungle of South America in droves, and open doors in many fields. So what, or perhaps who, led to this resilient mammalian force’s extinction? 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. After learning about Megatherium, check out these terrifying prehistoric creatures who weren’t dinosaurs. If the sloth and the mapinguari were the same, we would have stories of natives who hunted the mapinguari. PADDYBOY60 from Centreville Michigan on November 06, 2012. Though the idea that this cryptid is an ancient giant sloth still living is very intriguing, to date researchers have not been able to track the creature down. 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. Megatherium was a genus of giant ground sloth that went extinct thousands of years ago. Thet give off a fowl stench when they mark their territories. Does the giant ground sloth still exist? Then as I was reading the post and later watching the video I remembered seeing on another web page some pictures somebody took of a possible Bigfoot. Researchers have found several colossal burrows in South America that are so huge and neatly constructed, you'd be forgiven for thinking humans dug them as a passageway through the forest. There were many different species of giant sloths in the family, and at least 21 different genuses of giant sloths.. Without a specimen, live or dead, it is hard for mainstream science to take the Mapinguari too seriously. Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on May 18, 2013: cryptid (author) from USA on February 19, 2013: Thanks stacistathos! Not to worry though. cryptid (author) from USA on March 30, 2017: @Pal: These descriptions are based on local legends, not the behavior of an actual prehistoric ground sloth. This is a six-foot fish that was believed to have gone extinct some sixty-five million years ago, only to be rediscovered back in the 1930s. Evidence has been found suggesting Giant Sloth's survival into modern times. If mapinguari are really giant ground sloths, that would explain the simmilarities between their supposed calls and a 3-toed sloth. In 1796, just eight years after the Megatherium had been discovered, Cuvier published the first paper on it. Mainstream scientists and researchers say this creepy cryptid probably isn’t real, of course. Thanks for your insightful comment! 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. And, of course, the Megatherium went extinct during this time as well. Theoretical Turkeys ep. Megatherium would have to evolve to the fruit and leafs of the rainforest and the humid rainforest and hide from humans. It would perhaps give better insight if we could get some English transcripts of the important parts? Cryptids like the Mapinguari, which seem to have roots in extinct animals, are perhaps the most interesting of all. 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. Some people think its a South American Bigfoot, but an anteater is surely another possibility. The Megatherium was one of the largest ground mammals ever to have existed. These giant ground sloths were thought to have survived in more remote areas for at least another 5,000 years following this extinction, though. 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