20,000-Year-Old Armadillo Shells the Size of Volkswagen Beetles Found in Argentina

June 23, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Farmer finds dinosaur-sized armadillo shells in dry riverbed

A farmer just outside Buenos Aires was taking his cows out to graze when he stumbled upon something bizarre.

At first it looked like the tops of two giant turtle shells emerging from a dried riverbed.

Upon excavation, a total of four of the giant fossilized shells were discovered, the largest of which was as big as a Volkswagen Beetle.

Archaeologists determined the shells belonged to glyptodants, the ancient ancestors of modern armadillos that lived across North and South America during the Pleistocene epoch and were wiped out at the end of the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago.

The four shells appeared to belong to two adults and two young animals.


“We went there expecting to find two glyptodonts when the excavation started and then two more were found!” archaeologist Pablo Messineo told The Daily Mail. “It is the first time there have been four animals like this in the same site.”

“Most of them were facing the same direction, like they were walking towards something.”


Glyptodonts were encased from head to tail in thick, protective armor shaped like a turtle shell, but with bony plates like an armadillo.

Though they used their spiked tails as weapons to defend themselves, the herbivores were relatively gentle giants.

Their body shells alone were 5 feet long and 2 inches thick.