The Paramyladon, an extinct genus of ground sloth, was native to North America. It lived from the Pliocene era to the Pleistocene era, a period of about 4.889 years. Remains of this creature have been found as far south as Guatemala, throughout North America, and even as far north as Alberta, Canada.
Paramyladon has been easily mistaken with another ground sloth called Glossotherium, due to major similarities. Barnum Brown created the Paramyladon genus in 1903 with a species of P. nebrascensis, whose skull shared characteristics with the South American Mylodon harlani. However, the number of teeth in the jowls of the Glossotherium and P.nebrascensis differed. Eventually, Kraglievich (1928) solved the confusion about these ground sloths. It was determined that these sloths were distinctly different from each other, although until recently Paramyldon was listed as a subspecies of Glossotherium.
The only recognized species of Paramyladon is Harlan’s ground sloth, or P. harlani. This ground sloth was named after the man who first discovered a lower jaw of this species in 1835, Dr. Richard Harlan. One characteristic of the Paramyladon, which is also shared with the South American Mylodon, are the small bones within its skin. Known as dermal ossicles, the bones were thought to have increased the protection of the ground sloths.
The presumably first discovery of an association between a Paramyladon harlini and another ground sloth, called Megalonyx jeffersoni , was found at the Tarkio Valley site in Iowa. Not only was this the first time the two had been found in the same area, but it was also the first time that a Paramyladon harlini had been found in Iowa at all. Since then, the two species have be uncovered at the Irvington and Fairmead Landfill Sites in California.
Image Caption: Skeleton of Paramylodon harlani, a Ground Sloth, La Brea Tar Pits. Credit: David Monniaux/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)