One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fossil South American edentate mammal of the Cenozoic era, related to armadillos but much larger. Glyptodonts had fluted teeth and a body covered in a thick bony carapace.
- ‘In South America, he discovered the bony plates of glyptodonts - creatures reminiscent of armadillos, but much larger - and (at a separate site) the fossil bones of giant ground sloths.’
- ‘In North America these included mammoths and mastodon, giant ground sloths, and glyptodonts.’
- ‘Lions encounter woolly mammoths, a jaguar attacks a bone-plated glyptodont, and a sabre-toothed cat comes off somewhat worse for wear following a confrontation with a humble skunk.’
- ‘The armadillo-like glyptodont, for example, was the size of a small car, covered in plates of body armor, and equipped with a hefty tail club.’
- ‘The living armadillos of South America bore a striking resemblance to fossil glyptodonts, extinct armored mammals whose fossils occurred in the same area.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek gluptos ‘carved’ (from gluphein ‘carve’) + odous, odont- ‘tooth’.
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