The discovery of a giant prehistoric mammal fossil in Mexico pushes back the boundaries of its known range.


Glyptodons were car-sized armoured herbivores of the Pleistocene epoch (between 2 million and 10,000 years ago).


The fossils were found in the community of Tayoltita, in the municipality of Elota, in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa. They had previously only been found in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.


The remains of an animal measuring around 2.5 metres (8 feet 2 inches) were found on land between Celestino Gasca and Tayoltita in the municipality of Elota.


Adult glytptodons were anything from three to five metres long (9 feet 10 inches to 16 feet 5 inches) so it must have been a juvenile.


The discovery was made by archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Sinaloa, though archaeologists made the find after a tip-off from locals.


The institute’s Francisco Rios said 280 pieces of the animal’s armoured shell and three bones were extracted from a hole four metres deep.


After the remains have been properly analysed, they will be exhibited in the Museum of Mazatlan on Mexico’s western coast.


Glyptodons are related to today’s armadillos. Covered in armoured plates, they were grazers who had little to fear from most predators.


Humans are thought to have been among the few species to predate on glyptodons, and may have been a large factor in their extinction.


Glyptodons’ armoured tails are believed to have been used occasionally for fighting off predators but mainly for fighting among themselves.


They were among the Pleistocene creatures featured in Blue Sky Studios’ Ice Age movies alongside Sid the sloth and Scrat the sabre-toothed squirrel.

CEN/Sectur Sinaloa
MirunaFantanescu's picture

Author: Miruna Fantanescu

Miruna Fantanescu has been working for six months as a freelance journalist after working on a graduate training scheme with a UK based NAPA registered press agency. She covers news from Spain and occasionally makes ventures into her native Romania to cover items closer to home.