The majestic Megatherium
A restoration of Megatherium from H.N. Hutchinson’s Extinct Monsters.
For over a century and a half dinosaurs have been the unofficial symbols and ambassadors of paleontology, but this was not always so. It was fossil mammals, not dinosaurs, which enthralled the public during the turn of the 19th century, and arguably the most famous was the enormous ground sloth Megatherium. It was more than just a natural curiosity. The bones of the “great beast” represented a world which flourished and disappeared in the not-so-distant past, but, as illustrated by Christine Argot in a review of its history, illustrations of what Megatherium looked like have been in flux since the time of its discovery.
No doubt humans have been