Ancient Armadillo The Size Of A Car Discovered By Farmer In Argentina
The fossils of four ancient armadillos the size of cars have been discovered by a farmer in Argentina.
The prehistoric remains are thought to be around 20,000 years old, and were discovered at the bottom of a dried out riverbed in Buenos Aires.
At first glance, the remains look like boulders or possibly cow carcasses (if you haven’t got your glasses on), but farmer Juan de Dios Sota – who was taking his cows for a graze in a nearby field at the time – realised the odd shapes weren’t cattle remains at all.
Following his discovery, archaeologist Pablo Messineo and his team of scientists came to the site to investigate what the fossils actually were.
We went there expecting to find two glyptodonts when the excavation started and then two more were found!
It is the first time there have been four animals like this in the same site. Most of them were facing the same direction like they were walking towards something.
Glyptodonts are an extinct subfamily of large, ‘heavily armoured’ (with shells, not guns) relatives of the armadillo, which first developed in South America around 20 million years ago.
Messineo added that he believed, from the size of the fossils, there were two adults and two ‘younglings’.
When full size, they mammals grow to approximately the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.
They’re also believed to have weighed around 1,000 kg (2,205 lbs), so it’s safe to say you wouldn’t want to get accidentally sat on by one of those guys.
The research team will – obviously – require diggers to remove the fossils, and plan on doing further studies to try establish their age, sex and possible cause of death.
While the huge animals are ancient relatives of the armadillo, with their round, bony shell and squat limbs their appearance isn’t dissimilar to a turtle – albeit a massive one.
As well as Argentina, remains of glyptodonts have also been found in Brazil and Uruguay. The car-sized animals are believed to have been hairy, slow-moving herbivores, and went extinct around 10,000 years ago.
I wonder what exciting fossils will turn up next.
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