views updated

Glyptodontoidea (order Edentata, suborder Xenarthra) An extinct super-family whose earliest representatives are known from the late Eocene and which flourished until the end of the Pleistocene in N. and S. America. Glyptodons were armadillo-like animals, all larger than modern armadillos and some later forms growing to a length of 2.7 m. The armoured plates tended to be fused into a solid carapace, forming a mosaic of small plates, the skull was covered by a bony casque, the tail was armour-plated, some forms bearing tail spikes, and most of the vertebrae were fused to form three sections, cervical, dorsal, and a final section comprising the latter dorsal, lumbar, and sacral vertebrae.