Temporal range: Oligocene - Holocene
Paramylodon harlani. Texas Memorial Museum, UTA
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Theria
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Pilosa
Suborder: Folivora (partim)
Family: Mylodontidae
Gill, 1872

and see text

Mylodontidae is a family of extinct mammals within the order of Pilosa and suborder Folivora living from approximately 23 mya—11,000 years ago, existing for approximately 22.89 million years.[1] This family of ground sloths is related to the other families of extinct ground sloths, Megatheriidae and Nothrotheriidae. The only extant families of the suborder Folivora are Bradypodidae and Megalonychidae (the latter has extinct terrestrial species as well as extant arboreal species). Phylogenetic analyses using homologous sequences from all extant edentate groups indicates that Mylodontidae was more closely related to Megalonychidae than to Bradypodidae.[2]

The mylodontids together with their relatives form Mylodonta, the second radiation of ground sloths. The discovery of their fossils in caverns associated with human occupation lead some early researchers to theorize that the early humans built corrals when they could procure a young ground sloth, to raise the animal to butchering size.[3] However, radiocarbon dates do not support simultaneous occupation of the site by humans and sloths.[4] Subfossil remains like coproliths, fur and skin have been discovered in some quantities.

Family: Mylodontidae Gill, 1872


  1. Mylodontidae: Paleobiology Database
  2. Hoss, Matthias; Dilling, Amrei; Currant, Andrew; Paabo, Svante (9 Jan 1996). "Molecular phylogeny of the extinct ground sloth Mylodon darwinii". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 93 (1): 181–185. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.1.181. PMID 8552600. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  3. A.S. Woodward (1900)
  4. Naish, Darren (28 Nov 2005). "Fossils explained 51: Sloths". Geology Today. Geologists' Association, Geological Society of London and Blackwell Publishing. 21 (6): 232–238. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2451.2005.00538.x. Retrieved 2009-01-29.


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