megatherium


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meg·a·the·ri·um

 (mĕg′ə-thîr′ē-əm)
n.
A large extinct ground sloth of the genus Megatherium of the Miocene Epoch through the Pleistocene Epoch.

[New Latin Megathērium, genus name : mega- + Greek thērion, wild beast; see treacle.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

meg·a·the·ri·um

(mĕg′ə-thîr′ē-əm)
A large, extinct ground sloth that lived from the Miocene through the Pleistocene Epochs, primarily in South America. It was as large as an elephant, had long curved claws, and ate plants.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.megatherium - type genus of the MegatheriidaeMegatherium - type genus of the Megatheriidae  
mammal genus - a genus of mammals
family Megatheriidae, Megatheriidae - extinct ground sloths
ground sloth, megathere - gigantic extinct terrestrial sloth-like mammal of the Pliocene and Pleistocene in America
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References in classic literature ?
First, parts of three heads and other bones of the Megatherium, the huge dimensions of which are expressed by its name.
The great size of the bones of the Megatheroid animals, including the Megatherium, Megalonyx, Scelidotherium, and Mylodon, is truly wonderful.
I found myself gazing at any straggling scion of this strange race with a riveted fascination, just as one would stare at a living mastodon, or a megatherium that had moved in the grey dawn of creation and seen the wonders of that mysterious world that was before the flood.
When I found in La Plata the tooth of a horse embedded with the remains of Mastodon, Megatherium, Toxodon, and other extinct monsters, which all co-existed with still living shells at a very late geological period, I was filled with astonishment; for seeing that the horse, since its introduction by the Spaniards into South America, has run wild over the whole country and has increased in numbers at an unparalleled rate, I asked myself what could so recently have exterminated the former horse under conditions of life apparently so favourable.
We may doubt whether they have thus changed: if the Megatherium, Mylodon, Macrauchenia, and Toxodon had been brought to Europe from La Plata, without any information in regard to their geological position, no one would have suspected that they had coexisted with still living sea-shells; but as these anomalous monsters coexisted with the Mastodon and Horse, it might at least have been inferred that they had lived during one of the latter tertiary stages.
I recognized by the oblique feet that it was some extinct creature after the fashion of the Megatherium. The skull and the upper bones lay beside it in the thick dust, and in one place, where rain-water had dropped through a leak in the roof, the thing itself had been worn away.
Unquestionably a counterpart of the Megatherium of the post-Pliocene period of the outer crust, whose fossilized skeleton has been found in South America."
All the more did the affairs of the great world interest her, when communicated in the letters of high-born relations: the way in which fascinating younger sons had gone to the dogs by marrying their mistresses; the fine old-blooded idiocy of young Lord Tapir, and the furious gouty humors of old Lord Megatherium; the exact crossing of genealogies which had brought a coronet into a new branch and widened the relations of scandal,--these were topics of which she retained details with the utmost accuracy, and reproduced them in an excellent pickle of epigrams, which she herself enjoyed the more because she believed as unquestionably in birth and no-birth as she did in game and vermin.
There were scarcely thirty people on the look-out for him, in spite of all his clamour, when about six o'clock one summer morning the doors of the big shed in which he had been putting together his apparatus opened--it was near the big model of a megatherium in the Crystal Palace grounds--and his giant insect came droning out into a negligent and incredulous world.
Deer, antelope, bison, horses, sheep, and goats were all in sight at the same time, and at a little distance a great megatherium reared up on its huge tail and massive hind feet to tear the leaves from a tall tree.
THE RHINOCEROS AND THE MEGATHERIUM: An Essay in Natural History by Juan Pimentel, translated by Peter Mason.
Solid fermentation of wheat bran for hydrolytic enzymes production and saccharification content by a local isolate Bacillus megatherium. BMC Biotechnol 2014; 14:29.