The Mylodon was a large ground sloth that roamed portions of South America and the Patagonia region before becoming extinct around 8,000 BC. The mylodon weighed about 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lbs.) and measured about 3 meters (nearly 10 ft.) in length.
On the second voyage of HMS Beagle (1831 – 1836), Charles Darwin first identified the species from bones found at a site near present day Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1895 and 1896, well-preserved samples of Mylodon remains were discovered in the Cueva del Milodón site near Puerto Natales and Seno de Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound) in Chilean Patagonia.
Cueva del Milodón is a huge cave in which remains of Mylodons, humans and other animals including sabre tooth cats have been found.
This cave provides excellent shelter. When I visited in November 2016, the weather was cold and extremely windy. Inside, however, the cave was surprisingly warm.
Although the mylodon is a sloth not a bear, visiting this site elicited memories of the movie Clan of the Cave Bear and thoughts of the precarious nature of survival in prehistoric times.
The mylodon was a herbivore but its size, tough hide, and long claws made it tough prey for humans to hunt successfully. Here’s to a Sculpture Saturday salute to the mylodon.