Alice Roberts: Face to face with a glyptodont, one of the strangest mammals ever to have walked the earth

Saturday, June 30, 2012 - 18:30 in Paleontology & Archaeology

An armoured shell and a body the size of a car couldn't save the ice age glyptodonts – but were humans or climate change to blame?I have to admit to becoming slightly obsessed with perhaps one of the strangest mammals ever to have walked on the planet. I encountered them on a shoot with the BBC's natural history unit earlier this year, making a series about giant ice-age beasts. Turning off a long straight highway through the Safford basin in eastern Arizona, I met palaeontologist Dave Gillette. As the sun sank low, we cut into the desert, off-road, kicking up plumes of dust from our tyres. Eventually, we came to a halt, and in a pit with an A-frame standing over it, I could see a huge lump of white plaster. Except, of course, this was not just any lump of plaster – it contained a fossilised glyptodont. It was...

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