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Temporal range: Pleistocene
Specimen fossil Glyptodon from National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordate
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Cingulata
Family: Glyptodontidae
Genus: Glyptodon
Owen, 1839

Glyptodon was one of the biggest ancient armadillos. Fossils of this mammal have been found in Argentina, South America. It was about the size and weight of a small car.

Glyptodon lived between 2 million and 10,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene.

Evolutionary history[edit | edit source]

Humans hunting a glyptodon

Glyptodon is part of the placental group of mammals known as Xenarthra. This order of mammals includes anteaters, tree sloths, extinct ground sloths, extinct pampatheres, and armadillos.

Glyptodon came from South America. A related genus, Glyptotherium, first appeared in the south-west of the modern USA about 2.5 million years ago as a result of the Great American Interchange.

These herbivores (plant-eaters) would not have been vulnerable to the Sparassodont carnivores of the day. The native human population in their range is believed to have hunted them and used the shells for shelter in bad weather.[1][2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Fidalgo F. et al. 1986. Investigaciones arqueológicas en el sitio 2 de Arroyo Seco (Pdo. de Tres Arroyos, prov. de Buenos Aires, República Argentina) In: Bryan, Alan (ed) New evidence for the Pleistocene peopling of the Americas. Peopling of the Americas Symposia Series, Center for the Study of Early Man, University of Maine, Orono, Maine. 221-269, in Spanish. ISBN 0-912933-03-8
  2. Politis, Gustavo G. and Gutierrez, Maria A. 1998. Gliptodontes y Cazadores-Recolectores de la Region Pampeana (Argentina) (Glyptodonts and Hunter-Gatherers in the Pampas Region (Argentina), in Spanish. Latin American Antiquity 9(2): 111-134
  • David Lambert and the Diagram Group. 1985. The field guide to prehistoric life. New York: Facts on File Publications. ISBN 0-8160-1125-7

Gallery[edit | edit source]