Megalonyx: Gentle Giant of the Ice Age

megalonyxmainAmong the living mammals, sloths are an odd group. Hanging upside down in trees, eating leaves, and generally not moving very much (or very fast!), they are nonetheless favorites at zoos. After all, they're kind of cute. But if you go to a natural history museum, you're likely to see a sloth skeleton which looks very different from the sloths hanging around in the zoo. These are the giant ground sloths, and they were built for walking.

One of the most common giant sloths known from North America is Megalonyx jeffersonii. Fossils of this extinct animal are found all over the continent in sedimentary deposits formed just prior to and during the Ice Age that occurred after Noah's Flood. From West Virginia to California, from Texas to North Dakota, and even throughout Canada's Northwest and Yukon territories, this sloth really got around!

Feet Made for Walking

Now Megalonyx certainly doesn't look like a typical sloth. At up to 10 feet (3 m) long, weighing 1,000 pounds (455 kg), and walking on all fours, it was about the size of an American bison. At that size, this short-faced, barrel-chested behemoth likely didn't spend any time hanging upside down in trees! Instead, it was designed for life on the ground, starting with its feet.

[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]