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Glyptodon, an Ancient Armadillo


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Glyptodon (pronounced GLIP-toh-don) was one of the biggest ancient armadillos (belonging to the family Glyptodontidae). Fossils of this car-sized mammal have been found in Argentina, South America. Glyptodon (meaning "carved tooth") was named by paleontologist R. Owen in 1839. These herbivores (plant-eaters) may have been preyed upon by saber-toothed cats.

Anatomy: This well-armored animal had heavy, dome-shaped body armor, helmet-like head armor, and rings of bony armor on its short tail. This mammal had four short, thick legs; the front feet each had five clawed toes and the rear feet were more hoof-like. It had a short snout and powerful jaws, with no teeth in the front of the mouth, but had grinding teeth farther back in the jaws. It was about 10 feet (3 m) long and 5 feet (1.5 m) tall.

When Glyptodon Lived: Glyptodon lived in the Ice Ages, during the Pleistocene (between 2 million and 15,000 years ago).

Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Edentata (anteaters, sloths, and armadillos), Family Glyptodontidae (armadillo-like animals), Genus Glyptodon.

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