Today, walking through the wild expanses of Central and South America, you can meet very unusual animals, armadillos. Their bodies are almost completely covered with shell, and their weight can reach 60 kilograms. But thousands of years ago on our planet lived their larger ancestors, glyptodons, some of which were as big as cars. It was their remains that were recently found by a resident of Buenos Aires (Argentina), during the removal of cattle to pasture. On a dry riverbed, he noticed objects in the form of huge boulders and decided to notify the police. Those, in turn, turned to scientists for help.
The sudden and surprising discovery of an Argentine shepherd was briefly described by the Daily Mail. After examining the discovered objects, paleontologists immediately realized that they were dealing with the shells of two glyptodons. In particular, we are talking about individuals of the species Glyptodon reticulatus, who lived on our planet about 20 thousand years ago. After some time, researchers discovered the remains of two more individuals at the bottom of the river. In their opinion, this is a unique find, because no one has previously managed to find a whole group of glyptodons.
Amazing find of scientists
Researchers noted that the found group consisted of two adults and two cubs. The size of the largest individual can be compared with the dimensions of the Volkswagen Beetle, also known as the “Beetle”. Due to the fact that the remains of all individuals were turned to the west, scientists suggested that the group of glyptodons moved in one direction. Scientists can not yet name the cause of death and the exact age of the dead animals, but they will be able to do this in the course of further research.
However, paleontologists already know that the bodies of ancient mammals from head to tail were protected by a hard shell. It is assumed that it consisted of bone plates, and its length reached more than one and a half meters. The thickness of the armor, according to scientists, was about five centimeters, which is also quite an impressive indicator.
Researchers also know that the tail of glyptodons was also well protected and in some cases was even used as a weapon. It is believed that it was covered with a layer of fused rings and sometimes had spikes. While modern battleships, in case of danger, curl up and hide in the bushes, their distant ancestors could fight back, waving their tail like a spiked club. However, many did not dare to attack them, because the body length of some individuals reached three meters, and the mass was two tons.
If drought had not occurred in Argentina and the river had not partially dried up, the fossilized remains of ancient animals would have remained under water and would not have been discovered. Although, there is a possibility that they would be found in a few decades. Be that as it may, at the moment, scientists have the opportunity to carefully study the sexual differences of ancient creatures and find out what changes occurred to them during their growing up.