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Temporal range: Late Pliocene to Early Holocene
Skeleton of Megatherium americanum in the Natural History Museum, London
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Pilosa
Family: Megatheriidae
Genus: Megatherium
Cuvier, 1796
Type species
Megatherium americanum Cuvier, G., 1796
  • M. altiplanicum Saint-André & de Iuliis, 2001
  • M. tarijense Gervais & Ameghino, 1880
  • M. medinae Philippi, 1893
  • M. istilarti Kraglievich, 1925
  • M. parodii Hoffstetter, 1949
  • M. sundti Philippi, 1893
  • M. gallardoi Ameghino & Kraglievich, 1921

Megatherium was a huge, bulky, slow-moving mammal that lived during the Pleistocene epoch in South America. It went extinct about 11,000 years ago. This ice-age mammal was the largest of the ground sloths; Megatherium's name means "great beast." Megatherium was named by paleontologist Richard Owen in 1856; the first Megatherium fossil was found in Brazil in 1789.