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Science in Brief

Remains of early 'armadillo' found

December 15, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Scientists searching for fossils high in the Andes mountains in Chile have unearthed the remains of a tank-like mammal related to armadillos that grazed 18 million years ago, they reported Wednesday in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The creature, Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis, was a primitive relative of a line of heavily armored mammals that culminated in the massive, impregnable Gyptodon, a 2-ton, 10-foot-long beast covered in armored plates and a spiky tail. Parapropalaehoplophorus had similar traits but was much smaller, at 200 pounds and 2 1/2 feet.

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