A DNA found in Argentina reveals that the large hard-shell creatures known as glyptodont were as big as a car. A team of scientist extracted the “12000-year old DNA” from the extinct creature.
Frédéric Delsuc from the University of Montpellier and other scientists conducted the study. It was published in Current Biology.
The pair of scientists tested the mitochondria DNA of the fossil belonging to the genus Doedicurus; most recent and biggest glyptodonts found according to The Christian Science Monitor. DNA analysis reveals that the giant mammals have close connection with the smallest and largest living armadillos.
“Glyptodonts are the sister taxa to the pink fairy armadillo. If you look at the shapes and sizes of these two creatures, no one would have guessed that,” evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar, a senior author on the paper.
As per a new finding, the glyptodonts are also categorised under another group of armadillos, Tolypeutinae – another subfamily having giant and naked-tail.
Cingulata is an order of armoured new-world placental mammals which has armadillos, glyptodonts, and pampatheres under it.
However, several theories have categorised the inception of creatures differently. Some say they are armadillos, while others believed them to be distant cousins. While another theory suggests they belonged to an order of Xenarthra.
“Contrary to what is generally assumed about the distinctiveness of glyptodonts, our analyses indicate that they originated only some 36 million years ago, well within the armadillo radiation” said lead author Frédéric Delsuc of the French National Center for Scientific Research(CNRS) in a report by Science Recorder.
“Taxonomically, they should be regarded as no more than another subfamily of armadillos, which we can call Glyptodontinae.”
Glyptodonts are believed to have originated in South America, becoming extinct around 11,000 years ago. Charles Darwin was believed to have discovered the first known glyptodont fossils on his Beagle voyage in the 1830s.
Some speculate that humans could have been responsible for the decline of their order.