Have a sea-sloth.
South America was an isolated continent for around 85 million years, up until it became connected to North America about 3 million years ago, and an amazing range of unusual species evolved there during that time. There were all sorts of marsupials, anteaters, armadillos, sloths, strange ungulates… and that’s just some of the mammals. Birds were up to crazy stuff too, with things like giant flightless “terror birds” and the largest ever flying bird.
This critter here is Thalassocnus, a giant marine sloth that lived on the coast of Peru between 10 and 2 million years ago. Their fossil remains show evolution towards a more and more aquatic lifestyle, grazing on sea grasses and seaweed in progressively deeper water — and even starting to develop sealion-like limbs in the youngest known species.
I like to believe these guys went extinct because they were lazy and just eventually all drowned. Either that or they were murdered by otters, because otters are evil and were worried the sloths would steal their niche.
Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur /.
Erlangen :Expedition des Schreber’schen säugthier- und des Esper’schen Schmetterlingswerkes [etc.,1774]-1846..
NO. Just no. Sloths are cute, putting human faces on them does not help. Also, why is a sloth climbing a cut tree? On the plus side, this does have a nice Maurice Sendak feel to it.
An appropriate use of moleskine if there ever was one. Not 100% on the identification but only because I can’t see the teeth well enough.
What I believe is a Megalonyx (giant ground sloth) skeleton at Toronto’s Royal Ontartio Museum.
Ink on acrylic in my moleskin.
“Great Beast” (Megatherium) skeleton, from George Shaw’s Zoological Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution, 1800.
Megatherium americana was one of the few species of South American megafauna to not die out soon after the Great American Interchange at the beginning of the Pliocine era, and there’s evidence that it was encountered and hunted by early humans, especially after it expanded northwards into southern North America.
The size of a bull elephant, Megatherium were largely quadrupeds, but could use their massive tail as a tripod-like base to allow themselves to stand on their hind legs and pull down the choicest branches of leaves. Their somewhat smaller (rhino-sized) ancestor Promegatherium is believed to be a direct ancestor of both Megatherium and modern-day sloths.
Great beast, or greatest of beasts?
Author: Owen, Richard, 1804-1892.
Title: Description of the Skeleton of an Extinct Gigantic Sloth, Mylodon robustus, Owen, with Observations on the Osteology, Natural Affinities, and Probably Habits of the Megatherioid Quadrupeds in General. By Richard Owen, F.R.S., &c. Hunterian Professor and Conservator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London.
Imprint: London : Published by direction of the Council, printed by R. and J.E. Taylor, 1842.
Call Number: QE882 .E2 O93 1842 Rare Book
Rights Info: Public domain. No known copyright restrictions.
Please attribute this image to: Royal Ontario Museum Library & Archives.
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This is just gorgeous, and it also happen to be a sloth. Win-win.