Xenarthra superorder

Sloth: mammal of the Superorder Xenarthra, Order Pilosa.

The xenarthrous, or edentate, are placental mammals originating in South America, approximately 60 million years ago, with a geographic distribution ranging from the south center of North America, through Central America to the south of South America.

This group is represented by the extinct glyptodonts, giant sloths and giant armadillos (pampateries); and by the current armadillos, sloths and anteaters, comprising approximately thirty species, which can inhabit forest environments, and open areas, such as savannas and deserts.

Endowed with clawed fingers, and rigid carapace, or articulated plates; they feed mainly on insects – or leaves, in the case of sloths. They have few or no teeth, are devoid of enamel, and grow continuously. Their bones do not have a medullary cavity, and their ribs are attached to the bones of the waist. In addition, vertebrae have more joints than other mammalian groups, giving rise to the group’s name, which means “strange joint”.

Armadillos belong to the cingulate order, with modern armadillos representing the Dasipodidae family. As for sloths, Order Pilosa, Suborder Folivora, there are only two genera that still live: the three-toed (Bradypus), and the two-toed (Choloepus). Anteaters are also of the Order Pilosa, Suborder Vermilingua, and are divided into the family of anteaters (Cyclopedidae), and the anteaters proper (Myrmecophagidae)

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