Eremotherium laurillardi (Lund, ) (Xenarthra, Megatheriinae) is the only valid megatheriine sloth species in the Pleistocene of intertropical Brazil: A. Eremotherium laurillardi, Sloth skeleton. Contact The Charleston Museum for image use and credit instructions. Description: Miscellaneous skeletal elements. Eremotherium laurillardi, Sloth skeleton. Sample Image For image contact the Natural History Curator. Contact The Charleston Museum for image use and credit.
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Fossils of this species have been found at 7 of the 9 known coastal fossil sites of Pleistocene Age. It was really a spectacular beast growing as large as 18 feet long and weighing pounds. When it sat on its haunches, it was even taller than a mammoth. The fossil record is too incomplete to determine exactly when this species succombed to the cold in this region. Eremotherium continued to exist in South America until the end of the Pleistocene.
Eremotherium primarily ate leaves and twigs. Laurillsrdi, I wonder if they supplemented their diet by foraging on seaweed that washed upon the beach. Seaweed is high in certain minerals such as iodine and sodium that are lacking in tree leaves. Modern day tree sloths are known to laurillarei these nutrients by raiding human septic tanks to feed on feces.
If Eremotherium ate seaweed, scientists should be able to find abrasions on their teeth from munching seaweed with sand adhering to it. The scientific literature is silent about this detail, but that may be because scientists have never looked for this evidence. Two-toed tree sloth, Choloepus didactylus, climbing from a latrine where it just enjoyed snacking on human shit.
The minerals excreted by humans supplement the diet of this species which consists of tree leaves low in sodium. There was a genus of South America ground sloths that did gradually evolve into an increasingly aquatic existence.
Five consecutive species of ground sloths in the Thalossocerus genus lived on the coast of Chile and Peru between 9 million years BP-4 million years BP. The earliest species was Thalossocerus antiquus and the last was T. It likely foraged on the beach and in shallow laurillardi. Manatees have similarly strong lips.
The environment in this region then was mostly desert, so evolving the ability to subsist mostly on seaweed facilitated the survival of this species in an otherwise uninhabitable landscape.
This genus became extinct at the end of the Pliocene during a major marine extinction event. Although Eremotherium also lived laurillardi the coast, it probably did not swim in the ocean as regularly as this species.
Maybe you can publish a paper about it and thank me for bird-dogging the idea.
More vertebrate fossils were discovered here than at any other coastal fossil site in Georgia. Most other coastal fossil sites were discovered in the 18th or 19th centuries before paleontologists screen-washed sediment for smaller bones, and accordingly the earlier scientists only collected bones of the largest species. The more recently discovered Clark Quarry near Brunswick may rival the Isle of Hope for best coastal site, but despite the eremotyerium of a preliminary report inthe finds at this site have yet to be thoroughly and systematically reviewed in a scientific journal.
The Isle of Hope eermotherium an elite neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia. At high tide, it is separated from the mainland by a small tidal river. Vertebrate fossils of Eremothsrium age have been collected from this river.
The Isle of Hope fossil site was a deposit that occurred on both sides of a small tidal river within the city limits of Savannah. During high tide this rivulet separates the island from the mainland. The fossil site was discovered eremotherikm the early s during construction of a boat pier. The landowners, and John Heard, an amateur hobbyist, collected the fossils, and later, paleontologists from Georgia Southern also collected specimens from the site.
Most of these specimens are housed at the Georgia Southern Museum. Every single species of mollusc and fish found in the fossil deposit still occurs in the region today—evidence water temperatures during this climatic stage were similar to those of today. The dwarf surf clam was the most common bivalve species found at the Isle of Hope site.
It is eremohherium the most numerically common clam in Georgia tidal inlet channels. The Atlantic sharp-nosed shark. Fossils of this species were the most common fish remains found at the Isle of Hope site. Amazingly, the fishing in coastal Georgiayears ago would have resulted in the same species typically caught from a modern day pier—sharp-nosed sharks, stingrays, moray eels, sheepshead, black drum, toad fish, and puffers.
Schools of mullet would have been seen swimming by, and little killifish swarmed the shallows. Mud turtles were the most common reptile specimens found at the Isle of Hope site.
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This species no longer occurs this far south aside from a relic population that lives in a salt marsh in Levy County, Florida. There has been an interesting change in the small mammal fauna of coastal Georgia since the Pleistocene. Then, the most common rodents were the arvicolines, including the meadow vole, southern bog lemming, and Florida muskrat.
The sigmodontine rodents cotton rat, rice rat, wood rat, and old field mouse were present but less common. Today, the 3 arvicoline rodents mentioned above are absent from coastal Georgia while the sigmodontine rodents are common. The bog lemming no longer occurs this far south. The Florida muskrat no longer occurs this far north.
I have a different explanation for the co-existence of warm and cold climate species during the Pleistocene. During some climatic phases, average temperatures were less extreme than they are today, but overall climatic fluctuations were formerly more drastic.
File:Eremotherium laurillardi ROM.jpg
These dramatic climatic fluctuations created more varied habitats that supported a wider array of fauna, especially of small mammals. Instead, I think a shift to a more stable climate pattern is a better explanation.
Changes in species composition lagged behind the rapid climatic changes. But over the past 10, years, a warm climatic phase that has lasted quite a while, meadow voles did not enjoy the benefits of a sudden shift to cold climate in the south and have mostly disappeared from the region. Perhaps the most mysterious mammal to have lived in Georgiayears ago was a small cat.
A jaw bone of this species was found at this site but not enough skeletal material has been found to determine what species this cat was. Despite the genus name, Leopardus, it was not closely related to the leopard as some sources have erroneously and carelessly reported See Roadside Geology of Georgia. Instead, it was closely related to the margay and ocelot.
White-tailed deer fossils were the most abundant large mammal specimens found here. Deer may have been more common in Pleistocene Georgia than other species of now extinct megafauna, contrary to other areas such as Florida.
However, specimens of long-nosed peccary, bison, horse, tapir, and mastodon have been found here, showing they did share the environment with deer. Eremotherium laurillardi, the giant ground sloth. It was common on the Georgia coast during the last interglacial but disappeared from North America some time during the following Ice Age.
Below is a list of all the species found at the Isle of Hope site as reported in the reference cited at the bottom. I had fun translating the Latin names to English. Just 1 species of shellfish stymied my attempt to translate them all.
Drastic Climate Fluctuations vs. Humans have been enjoying a relatively stable warm climate phase for roughly 11, years now—a period of time known as the Holocene. This phase of warm stable climate has allowed agriculture to flourish. If climate had remained unstable and as cool as it did during the last Ice Age, civilization as we know it may never have come into existence.
The most recent interglacial previous to the present one was the Sangamonian Interglacial which lasted fromBP, BP. Climate during the Sangamonian was even warmer than that of today. At one point during this interglacial the north polar ice cap completely melted and sea levels were higher than they are now. Cypress swamps grew as far north as Illinois, alligators swam in rivers flowing through what today is Missouri, and giant tortoises roamed the ridge and valley region of the southern Appalachians.
This prolonged warm climate phase allowed many frost sensitive species of vertebrates to colonize much of southeastern North America, at least temporarily. There are probably more species than the following pictorial cavalcade illustrates, but these are the ones confirmed by science.
Eremotherium laurillardi, the largest ground sloth to ever live in North America, grew to 18 feet long and weighed up to 3 tons. Cold climate eventually drove them from what is now Georgia, but they persisted in Florida until maybe 30, BP when the beginning of the LGM became too cold for them even there. They did continue to live in South America until 10, BP when hunting Indians likely drove them to extinction. It was given the scientific name, Blastoceras extraneous, but was likely the same species populating the present day South American pampas.
Richard Hulbert expressed doubt in his book, The Fossil Vertebrates of Florida, that this mandible was correctly identified, but that was before he himself indentified the presence of collared peccaries in the Florida Pleistocene—a big surprise. Collared peccaries were only identified from the Florida Pleistocene within the last few years. Apparently, they colonized the south during the Sangamonian and probably other interglacials.
It seems that this cat should be able to survive in Florida today. I suspect Indians coveting its spotted coat led to its demise there.
Eremotherium – Wikipedia
Fossil evidence of a small species of cat resembling the modern day margay comes from Florida and 2 widely separated sites in Georgia—Ladds and the Isle of Hope site. Was it climate or paleo-Indian desire for spotted coats that restricted this species to isolated jungles? In contradiction to what most scientists think, I suspect giant tortoises were capable of surviving light frosts.
See my reasoning in a blog entry from my April archives. If giant tortoises lived in the area, alligators surely must have been able to live there too. Many species of South American and Central American birds also extended their range north in Sangamonian times. Size comparison between Eremotherium laurillardi and a man Eremotherium primarily ate leaves and twigs. Fossil brown-banded wettletraps were found at the Isle of Hope site.
Ray-finned fish Batrachoididae Killifish Fundulus sp. Sea robins Prionatus sp. Cutlass fish Trichiurus sp. Flounders Bothidae Boxfish Lactophrys sp. Garter snake Thanophis sirtalis Hog-nosed snake Heterodon sp. Unidentified duck Anas sp.