Skip to main content
Log in

The Skeleton of the Manus of Scelidotherium (Xenarthra, Mylodontidae) Specimens from the Pleistocene of the Province of Córdoba, Argentina, and its Systematic Implications

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Mammalian Evolution Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Dental and craniomandibular data have been predominantly used to infer relationships among mylodontid ground sloths. Recent studies indicate the osteology of the manus also provides useful data to test phylogenetic relationships in mylodontine mylodontids. Here we provide new comparative data from the study of the manus of a member of the Scelidotheriinae, Scelidotherium Owen, 1839, based on specimens from the Province of Córdoba that provide information on the variation and systematic relationships of the genus. The Scelidotherium material from the Province of Córdoba in central Argentina presents several morphological differences with material of the genus from northwestern Argentina. The manus of Scelidotherium shares several traits with Catonyx Ameghino, 1891, but not with Valgipes Gervais, 1874. These include: trapezoid with a sharp ridge on the articular surface for metacarpal II; magnum with at least half of articular surface for metacarpal II located on the dorsal half of the medial and distal aspects of the bone; metacarpal II with a notch on the axial border of its distal articular surface; and ungual process of the distal phalanx of the second digit markedly dorsopalmarly flattened. A phylogenetic analysis that includes osteological characters of the manus indicates that within the family Scelidotheriinae, Scelidotherium is more closely related to Catonyx than to Valgipes or Proscelidodon gracillimus Rovereto, 1914.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Ameghino F (1887) Enumeración sistemática de las especies de mamíferos fósiles coleccionadas por Carlos Ameghino en los terrenos eocenos de la Patagonia austral y depositadas en el Museo de La Plata. Bol Mus La Plata 1:5-26

    Google Scholar 

  • Ameghino F (1888) Rápidas diagnosis de algunos mamíferos fósiles nuevos de la República Argentina. PE Coni e Hijos, Buenos Aires

    Google Scholar 

  • Ameghino F (1891) Mamíferos y aves fósiles argentinas. Especies nuevas, adiciones y correcciones. Rev Argent Hist Nat 1:240-259

    Google Scholar 

  • Ameghino F (1904) Nuevas especies de mamíferos cretáceos y terciarios de la República Argentina. An Soc Cient Argent 56:3-142

    Google Scholar 

  • Ameghino F (1908) Las formaciones sedimentarias de la región litoral de Mar del Plata y Chapadmalal. An Mus Nac Buenos Aires, Serie III 10:343-428

    Google Scholar 

  • Amson E, Muizon C de, Gaudin TJ (2017) A reappraisal of the phylogeny of the Megatheria (Mammalia: Tardigrada), with an emphasis on the relationships of the Thalassocninae, the marine sloths. Zool J Linnean Soc 179:217-236. https://doi.org/10.1111/zoj.12450

  • Anthony R (1909) Recherches anatomiques sur les Bradypes arboricoles. Le squelette du paresseux à collier; ses rapports morphologiques avec celui des autres Bradypes. Ann Sci Nat Zool, Neuvième Serie 9:157-285

    Google Scholar 

  • Aramayo SA (1988) Nuevos restos de Proscelidodon sp. (Edentata, Mylodontidae) del yacimiento de Monte Hermoso (Plioceno inferior a medio) Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Estudio morfológico funcional. In: Actas Segundas Jornadas Geológicas Bonaerenses, Bahía Blanca, Argentina, May 26–29, 1988. Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas (ed), Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina, pp 99-107

  • Bordas AF (1935) Observaciones sobre los géneros “Scelidodon” Ameghino y “Proscelidodon” n. g. Physis 11:484-491

    Google Scholar 

  • Boscaini A, Pujos F, Gaudin TJ (2019) A reappraisal of the phylogeny of Mylodontidae (Mammalia, Xenarthra) and the divergence of mylodontine and lestodontine sloths. Zool Scr 48(6):691-710. https://doi.org/10.1111/zsc.12376

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burmeister H (1881) Bericht über ein Skelet von Scelidotherium leptocephalum. Monatsber K Preuss Akad Wiss Berl 46:374-380

    Google Scholar 

  • Cartelle C, De Iuliis G, Lopes-Ferreira R (2009) Systematic revision of tropical Brazilian scelidotheriine sloths (Xenarthra, Mylodontoidea). J Vertebr Paleontol 29:555-566. https://doi.org/10.1671/039.029.0231

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Corona A (2012) Los Scelidotheriinae (Xenarthra: Mylodontidae) de Uruguay: sistemática, distribución estratigráfica y cronología. MS Thesis, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo

    Google Scholar 

  • Corona A, Perea D, McDonald HG (2013) Catonyx cuvieri (Xenarthra, Mylodontidae, Scelidotheriinae) from the late Pleistocene of Uruguay, with comments regarding the systematics of the subfamily. J Vertebr Paleontol 33(5):1214-1225. https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2013.764311

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cuenca Anaya J (1995) El aparato locomotor de los escelidoterios (Edentata, Mammalia) y su paleobiología. Adjuntament de Valencia, Valencia

    Google Scholar 

  • Cuvier G (1796) Notice sur le squelette d’une très grande espèce de quadrupède inconnue jusqu’à présent, trouvé au Paraguay, et déposé au cabinet d’Histoire naturelle de Madrid. Mag Encycl 1:303-310

    Google Scholar 

  • Delsuc F, Kuch M, Gibb GC, Karpinski E, Hackenberger D, Szpak P, Martínez JG, Mead JI, McDonald HG, MacPhee RDE, Billet G (2019) Ancient mitogenomes reveal the evolutionary history and biogeography of sloths. Curr Biol 29:2031-2042. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.05.043

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Desmarest MAG (1822) Mammalogie ou Description des Espèces de Mammifères. Seconde Partie. Imprimeur Libraire rue des Poitevins, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  • Esteban GI, Abdala F, Nasif N (1992) Nuevos restos de Scelidotherium (Edentata) de Rosario de La Frontera, provincia de Salta, Argentina. Consideraciones sistemáticas basadas en aspectos morfológicos del carpo. Bol R Soc Esp Hist Nat (Secc Geol) 87:24-35

    Google Scholar 

  • Farris JS (1990) Phenetics in camouflage. Cladistics 6(1):91-100. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.1990.tb00528.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gaudin TJ (2004) Phylogenetic relationships among sloths (Mammalia, Xenarthra, Tardigrada): the craniodental evidence. Zool J Linnean Soc 140:255-305. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2003.00100.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gervais H, Ameghino F (1880) Los Mamíferos de la América Meridional. Igon Hermanos, Buenos Aires

    Google Scholar 

  • Gervais P (1855) Recherches sur les mammifères fossiles de l’Amérique méridionale. Ann Sci Nat Zool 3:330-338

    Google Scholar 

  • Gervais P (1874) Lestodon trigonidens et Valgipes deformis. J Zool 3:162-164

    Google Scholar 

  • Gill T (1872) Arrangements of the families of mammals, with analytical tables. Smithson Misc Collect 11:1-98. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.14607

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goloboff PA, Catalano SA (2016) TNT version 1.5, including a full implementation of phylogenetic morphometrics. Cladistics 32:221-238. https://doi.org/10.1111/cla.12160

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goloboff PA, Farris JS, Nixon KC (2003) T.N.T.: Tree Analysis Using New Technology. Fundación Miguel Lillo Web. http://www.lillo.org.ar/phylogeny/tnt/. Accessed 30 October 2018

  • Goloboff P, Mattoni C, Quinteros S (2006) Continuous characters analyzed as such. Cladistics 22:589-601. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.2006.00122.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haro JA, Tauber AA, Krapovickas JM (2016) The manus of Mylodon darwinii Owen (Tardigrada, Mylodontidae) and its phylogenetic implications. J Vertebr Paleontol 36:e1188824. https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2016.1188824

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haro JA, Tauber AA, Krapovickas JM (2017) Thoracic member (pectoral girdle and forelimb) bones of Mylodon darwinii Owen (Xenarthra, Mylodontidae) from the late Pleistocene of central Argentina and their phylogenetic implications. Paläontol Z 91:439-457. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-017-0350-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hay OP (1919) Descriptions of some mammalian and fish remains from Florida of probably Pleistocene age. Proc US Natl Mus 56:103-112. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.00963801.56-2291.103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harris JD (2004) Confusing dinosaurs with mammals: tetrapod phylogenetics and anatomical terminology in the world of homology. Anat Rec 281A(2):1240-1246. https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.a.20078

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hirschfeld SE (1985) Ground sloths from the Friasian La Venta Fauna, with additions to the pre-Friasian Coyaima Fauna of Colombia, South America. Univ Calif Publ Geol Sci 128:1-91

    Google Scholar 

  • Illiger JKW (1811) Prodromus systematis mammalium et avium; additis terminis zoographicis utriusque classis, eorumque versione Germanica. Salfeld, Berlin. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.106965

  • International Committee on Veterinary Gross Anatomical Nomenclature (2005) Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria. 5th edn. ICVGAN Editorial Committee, Hannover, Columbia, Ghent, Sapporo

    Google Scholar 

  • Kraglievich L (1923) Descripción comparada de los cráneos de Scelidodon rothi Ameghino y Scelidotherium parodii n. sp. procedentes del horizonte “chapadmalense.” An Mus Nac Hist Nat “Bernardino Rivadavia” 33:57-103

  • Krapovickas JM, Tauber AA, Haro JA (2017) Quaternary biostratigraphy and biogeography of mountain region of Córdoba, Argentina. Geobios 50:211-236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geobios.2017.03.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Latham J, Davies H (1795) Faunula indica. Appendix to Forster JR, Zoologia Indica. Editorial Secunda. Gebauer, Halle an der Saale

  • Leguizamón R, Álvarez D, Di Ronco J (2000) Hallazgo de un ejemplar de Scelidotherium (Tardigrada; Mylodontidae-Scelidotheriinae) en la localidad de Noetinger, este de la provincia de Córdoba, Argentina. Ameghiniana 37(4, Supplement):10R

  • Lund PW (1839a) Extrait d’une lettre de M. Lund, écrite de Lagoa Santa (Brésil), le 5 novembre 1838, et donnant un aperçu des espèces de mammifères fossiles qu’il a découvertes au Brésil. C R Acad Sci 8:570-577

    Google Scholar 

  • Lund PW (1839b) Coup d’œil sur les espèces éteintes de mammifères du Brésil; extrait de quelques mémoires présentés à l’Académie royal des Sciences de Copenhague. Ann Sci Nat Zool 11:214-234

    Google Scholar 

  • Lund PW (1842) Blik paa Brasiliens Dyreverden før sidste Jordomvæltning. Fjerde Afhandling: Fortsættelse af Pattedyrene. K Dan Vidensk Selsk Naturvidensk Math Afh 9:137-208

    Google Scholar 

  • Lydekker R (1886) Description of three species of Scelidotherium. Proc Zool Soc London 32:491-498

    Google Scholar 

  • Lydekker R (1894) The extinct edentates of Argentina. An Mus Lą Platą Paleontol Arg 3:1-118 + Pl. I-LXI

  • McAfee RK (2016) Description of new postcranial elements of Mylodon darwinii Owen 1839 (Mammalia: Pilosa: Mylodontinae), and functional morphology of the forelimb. Ameghiniana 53:418-443. https://doi.org/10.5710/AMGH.24.02.2016.2950

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McDonald HG (1987) A systematic review of the Plio-Pleistocene scelidotherine ground sloths (Mammalia: Xenarthra: Mylodontidae). PhD dissertation, University of Toronto, Toronto

  • McDonald HG, Perea D (2002) The large scelidothere Catonyx tarijensis (Xenarthra, Mylodontidae) from the Pleistocene of Uruguay. J Vertebr Paleontol 22:677-683. https://doi.org/10.1671/0272-4634(2002)022[0677:TLSCTX]2.0.CO;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miño-Boilini ÁR (2012) Sistemática y evolución de los Scelidotheriinae (Xenarthra, Mylodontidae) cuaternarios de la Argentina. Importancia bioestratigráfica, paleobiogeográfica y paleoambiental. PhD dissertation, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata

  • Miño-Boilini ÁR (2016) Additions to the knowledge of the ground sloth Catonyx tarijensis (Xenarthra, Pilosa) in the Pleistocene of Argentina. Paläontol Z 90:173-183. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-015-0280-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miño-Boilini ÁR, Carlini AA, Scillato-Yané GJ (2014) Revisión sistemática y taxonómica del género Scelidotherium Owen, 1839 (Xenarthra, Phyllophaga, Mylodontidae). Rev Bras Paleontol 17:43-58. https://doi.org/10.4072/rbp.2014.1.05

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Noble GK (1931) The Biology of the Amphibia. McGraw-Hill, New York and London

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ortega E (1967) Descripción de los restos de un Scelidotheriinae (Edentata, Mylodontidae) de Edad Huayqueriense. Algunas consideraciones en torno a la filogenia de los Scelidotheriinae. Ameghiniana 5:109-118

    Google Scholar 

  • Owen R (1839) Part I. Fossil Mammalia. In: Darwin C (ed) The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle. Smith, Elder and Co., London, pp 13-111

    Google Scholar 

  • Owen R (1842) Description of the skeleton of an extinct gigantic sloth, Mylodon robustus, Owen, with observations on the osteology, natural affinities, and probable habits of the megatherioid quadrupeds in general. R and JE Taylor, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Owen R (1857) On the scelidothere (Scelidotherium leptocephalum, Owen), a large extinct terrestrial sloth. Proc R Soc Lond 8:312-314. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspl.1856.0078

  • Peters W (1858) Charakterist eines neuen zweizehigen Faulthiers. Monatsber k preuss Akad Wiss Berl 1858:128

    Google Scholar 

  • Presslee S, Slater GJ, Pujos, F, Forasiepi AM, Fischer R, Molloy K, Mackie M, Olsen JV, Kramarz A, Taglioretti M, Scaglia F, Lezcano M, Lanata JL, Southon J, Feranec R, Bloch J, Hajduk A, Martin FM, Salas Gismondi R, Reguero M, De Muizon C, Greenwood A, Chait BT, Penkman K, Collins M, MacPhee RDE (2019) Palaeoproteomics resolves sloth relationships. Nat Ecol & Evol 3:1121-1130. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0909-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pujos F (2000) Scelidodon chiliensis (Mammalia, Xenarthra) du Pléistocène terminal de “Pampa de los Fósiles” (Nord-Pérou). Quaternaire 11:197-206. https://doi.org/10.3406/quate.2000.1669

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Romer AS (1956) Osteology of the Reptiles. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  • Rovereto C (1914) Los estratos araucanos y sus fósiles. An Mus Nac Hist Nat Buenos Aires 25:1-247

    Google Scholar 

  • Schulthess B (1920) Beiträge zur kenntnis der Xenarthra auf grund der «Santiago Roth’schen Sammlung» des Zoologischen museums der Universität Zürich. Mém Soc Paléontol Suisse 44:1-119

    Google Scholar 

  • Scillato-Yané GJ, Carlini AA (1998) Nuevos Xenarthra del Friasense (Mioceno medio) de Argentina. Stud Geol Salmant 34:43-67

    Google Scholar 

  • Scott WB (1904) Mammalia of the Santa Cruz beds, part I, Edentata. Rep Princet Univ Exped Patagon, 1896–1899 5:161-364

    Google Scholar 

  • Sefve I (1915) Scelidotherium-Reste aus Ulloma, Bolivia. Bull Geol Inst Univ Upsala 13:61-92

    Google Scholar 

  • Stock C (1925) Cenozoic Gravigrade Edentates of Western North America with Special Reference to the Pleistocene Megalonychinae and Mylodontidae of Rancho La Brea. Carnegie Institute of Washington, Washington

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Taglioretti M, Miño-Boilini ÁR, Scaglia F, Dondas A (2014) Presencia de Proscelidodon patrius (Xenarthra, Scelidotheriinae) en la Formación Chapadmalal (Plioceno superior), Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina: implicancias bioestratigráficas. Ameghiniana 51:420-427. https://doi.org/10.5710/AMGH.04.08.2014.2715

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tschopp E, Mateus O, Benson RBJ (2015) A specimen-level phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda). PeerJ 3:e857. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.857

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Vrana P, Wheeler W (1992) Individual organisms as terminal entities: laying the species problem to rest. Cladistics 8:67-72. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.1992.tb00051.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Webb SD (1989) Osteology and relationship of Thinobadistes segnis, the first mylodont sloth in North America. In: Redford KH, Eisenberg JF (eds) Advances in Neotropical Mammalogy. Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, pp 496-532

  • Winge H (1915) Jordfunde og nulevende Gumlere (Edentata) fra Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brasilien. E Mus Lundii, Copenhagen 3:1-321

    Google Scholar 

  • Yates AM (2003) The species taxonomy of the sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the Löwenstein Formation (Norian, Late Triassic) of Germany. Palaeontology 46:317-337. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0031-0239.2003.00301.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank R. Leguizamón, D. Álvarez, and J. Di Ronco for the fieldwork and preparation of CORD PZ 4586, K. L. Hansen for information on Lund’s collection in Copenhagen, M. Sosa for the drawings, and D. Peters for help with the English style. We thank F. Pujos, E. Amson, and two anonymous reviewers for comments to previous versions of this manuscript that helped improve its quality. We thank the Willi Hennig Society for the free availability of the phylogenetic inference software TNT, CONICET for the postdoctoral fellowship to J. A. H., and the doctoral fellowships to G. L. N. and J. M. K. Funding for this research was provided by the SeCyT-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba grant 05/I780 to A.A.T.

Availability of Data and Material

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article [and its supplementary information files].

Code Availability

Not applicable.

Funding

SeCyT-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba grant 05/I780 to A.A.T.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

G.L.N. and J.A.H. conceived and designed the project. A.A. T. and J.M.K. found and prepared the fossil material of Scelidotherium. G.L.N, J.A.H., A.R.M-B., and H.G.M. collected the Scelidotherium data. G.L.N and J.A.H. analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. M.N.F. and F.M.R. photographed the materials. J.A.H. made all figures, tables, and supplementary files. All authors edited the manuscript and gave final approval for publication.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Augusto Haro.

Ethics declarations

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethics Approval

Not applicable.

Consent to Participate

Not applicable.

Consent for Publication

Not applicable

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

(TNT 10 kb)

ESM 2

(TNT 8 kb)

ESM 3

(TNT 7 kb)

ESM 4

(TNT 7 kb)

ESM 5

(DOCX 68 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nieto, G.L., Haro, J.A., McDonald, H.G. et al. The Skeleton of the Manus of Scelidotherium (Xenarthra, Mylodontidae) Specimens from the Pleistocene of the Province of Córdoba, Argentina, and its Systematic Implications. J Mammal Evol 28, 221–243 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10914-020-09520-x

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10914-020-09520-x

Keywords

Navigation