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Peltephilus (Getty Images)


Peltephilus (Greek for "armor lover"); pronounced PELL-teh-FIE-luss


Plains of South America

Historical Epoch:

Late Oligocene-Early Miocene (25-20 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 5 feet long and 150-200 pounds


Unknown; possibly omnivorous

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Armor plating along back; two horns on snout


About Peltephilus:

One of the more comical-looking megafauna mammals of prehistoric times, Peltephilus looked like a giant badger pretending to be a cross between an Ankylosaurus and a rhinoceros. This five-foot-long armadillo sported some impressive-looking, flexible armor (which would have allowed it to curl up into a big ball when threatened), as well as two largish horns on its snout, which were undoubtedly a sexually selected characteristic (i.e., Peltephilus males with bigger horns got to mate with more females). As big as it was, though, Peltephilus was no match for giant armadillo descendants like Glyptodon and Doedicurus that succeeded it by a few million years.

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