The Return of the Giant Ground Sloth
The Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS) welcomed back the historic Giant Ground Sloth to public viewing. After being kept behind closed doors due to 2009 flooding, the sloth was welcomed back on display as part of the museum’s permanent collection on Sunday, May 1, 2011.
The impressive 13-foot tall skeleton of the Eremotherium laurilardi or giant ground sloth was excavated in 1975, in an important Pleistocene fossil site called the Daytona Bone Bed. Dr. Gordon Edmund, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum, identified and reconstructed the giant sloth for MOAS.
Approximately 130,000 years ago, the giant ground sloth lived in the coastal area of Florida and specifically in Volusia County. This huge, hairy mammal weighed between three to five tons and rose to the height of 15-20 feet on its hind legs, was 5 feet wide and about 20 feet long. It was a plant eater (herbivorous) and is believed to have roamed Florida lands in herds searching for food.
The Volusia County giant ground sloth is the best preserved and most complete fossil of this species in North America and has made its home at The Center for Florida History of MOAS for the past 30 years.