Archeology

Glyptodon Animal that was nicknamed ‘Walking Fortress’

Glyptodon, which literally translates to ‘the carved tooth’ in Greek, is an extinct prehistoric mammalian genus.

They once roamed the lands of present-day South America and North America.

They had very heavy and intricately patterned shells made up of thousands of bony plates called osteoderms. Similarly, its tail was comprised of a ring of bones.

Its features remarkably resemble that of a turtle but they could not withdraw their heads within their shells.

Instead, they had a cap on the top of their head. The anatomy suggests they were well protected from predators since they were armored.

They are closely related to modern armadillos. Over the course of evolution, glyptodons are said to have been growing in size until their extinction.

Because of this fact, there is much variation noted in the glyptodon shell found. Glyptodon may even have weighed around 4400lb or 2t.

This South American mammal was a herbivore and mainly grazed on vegetation. Scientists identified two main groups based on their feeding habits.

Miocene-aged smaller glyptodons were selective feeders, whereas post-Misocene larger glyptodons were bulk-feeders.

Because of their food preferences, they preferred areas with water bodies populating tropical and subtropical habitats.

Gylptodons were immense, approximately five feet tall, and armored like a tortoise.

Their tail was covered in bony rings, but this was a very flexible appendage and they could swing their tail really well.

Glyptodons grew over the ages. They were almost five ft tall and 11 ft long, their weight ranging from 176-4400 lb.

Often compared to armadillos, it could be interesting to note that these mammals were five times larger than an average armadillo, who are only a foot tall.

As mentioned earlier, a glyptodon would have weighed up to 2 t. With this growth, it is also thought that they evolved their single, rounded sheath.

This is in contrast with the layered bands of an armadillo.

Given their body structure, with a heavy shell and relatively tiny limbs, they could not have been very fast.

Rather paleontologists suggest that their movement must have been slow and burdensome.

These mammals were herbivores and preferred vegetation- both soft and hard. Remains of these prehistoric animals were used to analyze their feeding habits.

They had relatively lower energy requirements and were able to survive with fewer calories.

Due to their heavy armor, they were forced to forage closer to the ground level,

which might have created competition with other mammals, such as ground sloths, for resources.

Originally glyptodons hail from South America, but also moved towards North America, due to the Great American Interchange.

They preferred to live in tropical and sub-tropical habitats, while some inhabited warm climates such as forested or sub-forested areas others were acclimatized to cold areas such as large grasslands.

Like most mammals, glyptodons were viviparous, the offspring are born alive after maturing within the mother’s womb.

The average litter size comprised of one to twelve offsprings.

Are they dangerous?Despite their appearance and our instinct, these mammals were harmless.

Although they were well protected from their predators.

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