Xenarthra is found strictly in the New World and evolved in the early Cenozoic of South America, with some species migrating to Central America, North America, and the Car-ribbean in the late Pliocene and in several different later waves as land bridges appeared. All living families now occur in Central and South America, with one species of armadillo ranging into the United States. Xenarthrans were more common in North America in the past, with extinct large sloths, giant armadillos, and glyptodonts being important elements of the fauna, and ranging as far north as Alaska, where some extinct sloth remains have been discovered.

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