Mysterious extinct glyptodonts are actually gigantic armadillos, says their DNA

New research reveals that the evolutionary history of glyptodonts — huge, armored mammals that went extinct in the Americas at the end of the last ice age — is unexpectedly brief. The work, published this week in the journal Current Biology by an international team of researchers, confirms that glyptodonts likely originated less than 35 million years ago from ancestors within lineages leading directly to one of the modern armadillo families. More surprising still, the study finds that the closest relatives of glyptodonts — some species of which may have weighed two tons or more — include not only the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), which can weigh up to 25 pounds, but also the four-ounce pink fairy armadillo, or pichiciego (Chlamyphorus truncatus).

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(e) Science News – Paleontology & Archaeology

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