Megalonyx Jeffersonii giant ground sloth life-size reconstruction.
Stands 230cm high. These giants were most likely descendants of the extant three-toed sloths. Long has been thought to be related to their two-toed relatives but recent research contradicted this belief. The name was derived from the late former American president Thomas Jefferson who was a paleontology enthusiast. He obtained a specimen consisting of a giant claw-like structure previously compared with lion bones. Megalonyx means ”giant claw”. Obviously, it turned out to be the remnants of this medium-sized giant ground sloth. I say medium-sized because there were much larger species of ground sloth such as the giant Megatheriidae Eremotherium which grew to elephant size.  6 Meters long with a weight of approximately 4 metric tons as opposed to the 3 Meter long 1 tonne Megalonyx. It had specialized natural defenses besides the obvious huge claws.  Consisting of small bony plates within its skin acting like a knight’s chain mail.  Together with a thick fur coat a formidable defense against predators. For instance, the powerful Saber-toothed cats of the period. Furthermore, it was designated the state fossil of West Virginia.