Glyptodons are ancient ancestors of the modern-day armadillos, and they roamed the earth some 20,000 years ago. Recently, four massive Glyptodon shells have been found in Argentina by a local farmer. The four large fossils, the largest being roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, were found in a dried-out river bed near Buenos Aires.
The Discovery of the Fossil Group
As the Argentinian farmer, Juan de Dios Sota, took his cows out to graze near a local river, he saw odd formations in the nearby dried-out river bed. He notified officials of his discovery and soon archeologists began carefully excavating the site. One of the archeologists working on the project, Pablo Messineo, said that they were expecting to find two glyptodons at first, but as the work went on, two more fossils were discovered.
As every fossil was facing the same direction, it’s assumed that they were walking towards something in a group, and the possibility of this having been a family of glyptodons isn’t excluded. Scientists plan on conducting further testing to uncover the sex, age, and cause of death of these four glyptodons.
This was not the first time such a discovery was made in this area. Another farmer from Argentina reported having found a shell much like one of these, back in 2015. However, because this shell was never officially studied by experts, its validity was never confirmed. Many specialists that have seen images of this shell claim that it looks like that of a glyptodon.
What Did the Glyptodons Look Like?
Glyptodons are considered to be ancient armadillos that lived mostly in North and South America around 20,000 years ago. The species went extinct around 10,000 years ago during the last ice age. From different fossil studies, we know that from head to tail, the glyptodons were encased in protective armor. Although the shell resembled that of a turtle, it was covered in bony plates, much like the shell of an armadillo.
The shell covering the body can be as thick as two inches and five feet long. At the end of its tail, this creature had a bony knob that was sometimes spiked, and it was used for protection, much like a club or a mace. These gentle giants were herbivores and each of their species had a different pattern on their armor that made them easy to tell apart.