Glyptodonts, Extinct Animals, Were Close Relatives of Giant Armadillos

February 22, 2016 Updated: February 23, 2016

New analysis of DNA evidence indicates that Glyptodonts, a species of extinct animals, were close relatives to giant armadillos.

Some paleontologists have suspected that Glyptodonts were related to modern armored mammals. To find out where the species fit on the family tree, researchers extracted fragments of DNA from a specimen unearthed in the 19th century outside Buenos Aires.

After reconstructing the animal’s mitochondrial genome, they compared the genome to those of modern armadillo-like animals.

The group of researchers said in their conclusions, published in Current Biology, that the species diverged along with fairy armadillos and giant armadillos from a tiny ancestor about 25 million years ago.

While the tiny ancestors weighed only 13.2 pounds, the Glyptodonts ballooned to an estimated 4,409 pounds.