Mylodon darwinii - lower jaw

Specimen number: NHMUK PV M 16563a

Specimen Link:

Taxon: Mylodon darwinii

Description: Lower jaw showing four molariform teeth on both right and left sides

Site: Punta Alta, Argentina

Age: Late Pleistocene (between 126,000 and 11,700 years old)

Collection: Collected September to October 1832 by Charles Darwin

Comments: In September-October 1832, Darwin spent many days excavating fossils from a beach deposit at Punta Alta in Argentina.

…We staid sometime on Punta Alta about 10 miles from the ship; here I found some rocks.— These are the first I have seen, & are very interesting from containing numerous shells & the bones of large animals...

-- Keynes, R. D. 2001. Charles Darwin’s Beagle Diary. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Page 106.

…I have been very lucky with fossil bones; I have fragments of at least 6 distinct animals; as many of them are teeth I trust, shattered & rolled as they have been, they will be recognised. I have paid all the attention, I am capable of, to their geological site… 3d The lower jaw of some large animal, which from the molar teeth, I should think belonged to the Edentata…

-- Darwin, C. R. 24/11/1832. Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 192”

The final sentence (above) probably refers to this lower jaw specimen and shows that Darwin identified it as belonging to the group containing sloths. Edentata is an obsolete term which was used for grouping sloths, armadillos, anteaters, pangolins and aardvarks together. However, the latter two are no longer considered closely related to the others and so the term is no longer used.

Cite this as

Pip Brewer, Kate Burton, Adrian Lister (2018). Dataset: Darwin's Fossil Mammals. Resource: Mylodon darwinii - lower jaw. Natural History Museum Data Portal (

Retrieved: 06:36 20 Jun 2019 (GMT)

Additional Information

Last updated February 8, 2019
Created February 8, 2019
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