Megalocnus rodens Leidy, 1868:180

Cuban giant sloth



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Myomorphus cubensis Pomel, 1868; Megalocnus rodens rodens Leidy, 1868; Oryctotherius cubensis Spencer, 1895; Megalonyx rodens Allen, 1911; Megalocnus rodens casimbae Matthew, 1959; Megalocnus ursulus Matthew, 1959; Megalocnus junius Matthew, 1959; Megalocnus intermedius Mayo, 1969


García & Páez (2000:86) treat Megalocnus rodens as a synonym of M. intermedius.


Conservation Status


Last record: 4,250 +/- 50 yrs BP


The youngest radiocarbon date attained is 4,250 +/- 50 yrs (Steadman et. al. 2005). Hence this species survived well into the Holocene. But because of a lack of dateable specimens, Megalocnus and Homo sapiens cannot be shown to have overlapped temporally. Hence extinction by humans, though very probably the true cause, cannot be demonstrated at present.





Biology & Ecology










Alcover, Josep Antoni et al. (1998). Mammal Species of the World: Additional Data on Insular Mammals. American Museum Novitates 3248, 29 pp., 1 table.

Aranda, E., Viñola-López, L. W., & Álvarez-Lajonchere, L. (2020). New insights on the quaternary fossil record of Isla de la Juventud, Cuba. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 102: 102656.

Borroto-Páez, Rafael, Mancina, Carlos A., Woods, Charles A. and Kilpatrick, C. William. (2012). Checklist: Updated Checklist of Endemic Terrestrial Mammals of the West Indies, pp. 389-415. In: Borroto-Páez, Rafael, Woods, Charles A. and Sergile, F. E. (eds.). Terrestrial Mammals of the West Indies: Contributions. Gainesville, Florida: Florida Museum of Natural History and Wacahoota Press. 482 pp.

de Paula Cauto, Carlos. (1956). On two mounted skeletons of Megalocnus rodens. Journal of Mammalogy 37(3): 423-427. [Abstract]

Gaudin, T. (2004). Phylogenetic relationships among sloths (Mammalia, Xenarthra, Tardigrada): the craniodental evidence. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 140: 255-305.

Ignacio Ramos García and Rafael Borroto Páez. (2000). Ejemplares tipo de mamíferos en colecciones cubanas. Orsis 15: 75-89.

MacPhee, R. D. E., Iturralde-Vinent, M. A., and Vazquez, O. J. (2007). Prehistoric Sloth Extinctions in Cuba: Implications of a New “Last” Appearance Date. Caribbean Journal of Science 43(1): 94-98.

Steadman, D. W., Martin, P. S., MacPhee, R. D. E., Jull, A. J. T., McDonald, H. G., Woods, C. A., Iturralde-Vinent, M., and Hodgins, G. W. L. (2005). Asynchronous extinction of late Quaternary sloths on continents and islands. PNAS 102(33): 11763-11768.

White, J. L. and MacPhee, R. D. E. (2001). The Sloths of the West Indies: A Systematic and Phylogenetic Review, pp. 201-236. In: Woods, C. A. and Sergile, F. E. Biogeography of the West Indies: Patterns and Perspectives. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.


<< Back to the Pilosa (Anteaters and Sloths) database