Ancient Armadillo The Size Of A Car Discovered By Farmer In Argentina

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 24 Feb 2020 17:24
Ancient Armadillo The Size Of A Car Discovered By Farmer In ArgentinaCEN

The fossils of four ancient armadillos the size of cars have been discovered by a farmer in Argentina. 

First there were rumours of human-sized penguins in New Zealand, a previously unknown cousin of the T. Rex in Canada, and now car-sized armadillos in Argentina? What are we going to see next?!


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.

Ancient Armadillo The Size Of A Car Discovered By FarmerCEN

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.


Messineo said:

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.

Ancient Armadillo The Size Of A Car Discovered By FarmerCEN

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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.

Ancient Armadillo The Size Of A Car Discovered By FarmerCEN

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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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Argentina, Discovery, Fossil