Ancient Armadillo Weighed A Tonne, Say Experts Who Unearthed Its Arm

Astonished archaeologists have unearthed a 700,000-year-old fossilised armadillo arm during an excavation at a concrete manufacturer’s mine.

The arm – found in Argentina – is almost three feet long by itself.

Previous studies say the ancient giant armadillo species was the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and weighed around a tonne.

Despite its vast size, the beast was mostly a herbivore.

The arm was dug out by a research team from the San Pedro Paleontological Museum in Buenos Aires and the National University of Rosario in the province of Santa Fe on 29th September.

The fossil remains belong to a giant armadillo of the genus Doedicurus, and were found in a sector of ravines in the San Pedro, Argentina.
(Museo Paleontologico de San Pedro/Newsflash)

The unique find reportedly originates from the Ensenadan age which is a period that stretches between 1.2 and 0.8 million years ago.

Museum officials reported that the fossil was recovered from a site currently owned by the mix concrete supplier Empresa Sposito S. A.

Known for its subsoil fossiliferous richness the site has yielded a significant amount of discoveries since it was first discovered in 2001.

Dr Luciano Brambilla from the National University of Rosario explained that the remains belong to a giant armadillo of the genus Doedicurus.

Brambilla said that the discovery represents much more than the hitherto findings which normally included simple bony plates from the animal’s armour.

Brambilla said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “The relevance of this discovery lies in the fact that it is the most complete perfectly articulated arm and hand of the genus Doedicurus, dating back more than 700,000 years ago.

“Added to this piece is one of the partially preserved legs, up to 70 per cent.

“The whole set becomes a totally unusual find that will reveal an unknown part of the evolutionary history of the Doedicurus.

“Through this specimen we will be able to measure and compare the changes in the arms and feet of these animals over thousands of years.”

Museum Director Jose Luis Aguilar and one of the experts involved in the discovery explained that the arm with all of its bone components was perfectly preserved.

He said: “The scapula, the humerus, the ulna, the radius and all the small bones that made up the right hand of a gigantic mammal weighing more than a tonne, were carefully extracted from the sediment, protected in a covering of cloth and plaster.

Some of the scientists involved in the research hold the fossilized arm of an animal that lived during the Ensenadense Age, more than 700,000 years ago, undated.
(Museo Paleontologico de San Pedro/Newsflash)

“It is a fantastic piece that allows us to review the anatomy of this animal, with a surprising level of detail.

“Until now, the morphology of the arms of this genus of animals was practically unknown for that antiquity.”

Aguilar stated that the arm’s extraction was exceptionally difficult due to the compactness of the sediment layer of the site.

He said: “It took several hours of work and even to improvise a long and sharp tool that would allow reaching the back of the fossil.

“Alongside the animal’s arm, a tibia, fibula and part of a foot were also recovered, also articulated and in perfect condition.

“It is a set of remains that provides excellent comparison material for researchers who carry out scientific work on this group of fossil mammals.”

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Georgina JadikovskaSub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency:  Newsflash

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