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Mastozoología neotropical

Print version ISSN 0327-9383


PRADERIO, Angel; GIL, Adolfo  and  FORASIEPI, Analía M. The record of Megatherium (Xenarthra, Tardigrada) in Mendoza (Argentina): Taxonomic, chronological and paleoecological aspects. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2012, vol.19, n.2, pp.163-178. ISSN 0327-9383.

A new record of a ground sloth, referred to Megatherium cf. M. americanum, in the south of Mendoza province (locality of Manqui-Malal, Malargüe department) is presented. The material is described and analyzed in its paleoecological context. 14C dating provided an age of 12 300 ±120. The analysis of isotopes of δ13C on the collagen and apatite provided values of -16.4% y -8.8%, respectively. This data suggests a mixed diet with an important component of C4 plants. The δ15N provided values of 7.6%, similar to the high values reached by guanacos (Lama guanicoe) today in the region. The δ18O on the apatite provided values of -10.3% which is to be expected for an individual that drank water of about -14.5%, as present today in the area. A paleoecological and paleoclimatic change occurred at about 14 000 AP in the area with the establishment of the vegetation of the Monte. The isotopic information of the described specimen and its comparison with other latest Pleistocene herbivores from middle latitudes of South America suggest that these ground sloths successfully changed their diet about 14 000 AP, following the vegetation change. Despite the weak evidence of association between megafauna and humans in the south of Mendoza Province, this association should be considered as well as others factors when evaluating the causes of the extinction of the ground sloths.

Keywords : Diet; Monte; Megatherium; Mendoza; Pleistocene.

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