A large prehistoric glyptodont walking through grassland


Glyptodonts were superficially similar to armadillos, but much larger, weighing almost as much as a car. They were covered in a rigid armour, which could be up to 5cm thick. Fossil scutes or scales that make up the glyptodont's armoured shell are common in the fossil record. Glyptodonts originated in South America and spread northwards as far as southern North America. They became extinct 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

Scientific name: Glyptodontidae

Rank: Family

Common names:

  • carved tooth,
  • grooved tooth

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

What their world was like

Ice age Ice age
The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different.