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Primitive early relative of armadillos helps rewrite evolutionary family tree
Date:12/11/2007

ucal Fauna, include at least 18 species of armadillos and glyptodonts, rodents, relatives of opossums, and a variety of extinct hoofed mammals. Together with the plant fossils recovered from the same area, these suggest that northern

Chile was an open savannah about 3,000 feet above sea level at the time that P. septentrionalis lived, with relatively few trees and populated mainly by grazing animals.

The new species was reconstructed from remains of the jaw, shell, leg, and backbone and compared with other known glyptodonts as well as with close relatives of glyptodonts. Based on supporting evidence, the team concluded that P. septentrionalis lived about 18 million years ago, making it one of the earliest-diverging members of its family. As a result, the authors proposed a new evolutionary tree for glyptodonts and their nearest relatives.

When we collected the fossil, we had no idea that it would turn out to be a new species, said Croft. We knew that it would be an important specimen, given its completeness, but it was only after cleaning it and carefully studying it that we realized how unusual it was.


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Contact: Ken Kostel
kkostel@amnh.org
212-496-3419
American Museum of Natural History
Source:Eurekalert

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