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cingulata order, cingulata species
Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra, is an order of armored New World placental mammals Dasypodids and chlamyphorids, the armadillos, are the only surviving families in the order[1] Two groups of cingulates much larger than extant armadillos maximum body mass of 45 kg 100 lb in the case of the giant armadillo[2] existed until recently: pampatheriids, which reached weights of up to 200 kg 440 lb[3] and chlamyphorid glyptodonts, which attained masses of 2,000 kg 4,400 lb[4] or more

The cingulate order originated in South America during the Paleocene epoch, and due to the continent's former isolation remained confined to it during most of the Cenozoic However, the formation of a land bridge allowed members of all three families to migrate to southern North America during the Pliocene[5] or early Pleistocene[6] as part of the Great American Interchange After surviving for tens of millions of years, all of the pampatheriids and giant glyptodonts apparently died out during the Quaternary extinction event at the beginning of the Holocene,[7][8] along with much of the rest of the regional megafauna, shortly after the colonization of the Americas by Paleo-Indians


Armadillos have dorsal armor that is formed by osteoderms, plates of dermal bone covered in relatively small, overlapping keratinized epidermal scales called "scutes" Most species have rigid shields over the shoulders and hips, with three to nine bands separated by flexible skin covering the back and flanks[9]

Pampatheres also had shells that were flexible due to three movable lateral bands of osteoderms[3] The osteoderms of pampatheres were each covered by a single scute, unlike those of armadillos, which have more than one[3] Glyptodonts, on the other hand, had rigid, turtle-like shells of fused osteoderms

Both groups have or had a cap of armor atop their heads Glyptodonts also had heavily armored tails; some, such as Doedicurus, had mace-like clubs at the ends of their tails, similar to those of ankylosaurs, evidently used for defensive or agonistic purposes[4]

Most armadillos eat insects and other invertebrates; some are more omnivorous and may also eat small vertebrates and vegetable matter Pampatheres are thought to have been specialized for grazing,[3] and isotopic analysis indicates the diet of glyptodonts was dominated by C4 grasses[10] Euphractinae is unique for speciations towards carnivory, culminating in the macropredatory genus Macroeuphractus


Holmesina septentrionalis Cosmo Caixa, Barcelona Nine-banded armadillo, D novemcinctus Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Glyptodon clavipes Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

The taxonomic table below follows the results of a phylogenetic analysis published by Delsuc et al, 2016 While glyptodonts have traditionally been considered stem-group cingulates outside the group that contains modern armadillos, this 2016 study conducted an analysis of Doedicurus mtDNA and found that it was, in fact, nested within the modern armadillos as the sister group of a clade consisting of Chlamyphorinae and Tolypeutinae[11] No pampathere DNA sequence findings are yet available


  • FamilyPampatheriidae: pampatheres
    • Genus †Holmesina
    • Genus †Kraglievichia
    • Genus †Machlydotherium
    • Genus †Pampatherium
    • Genus †Plaina
    • Genus †Scirrotherium
    • Genus †Vassallia
    • Genus †Yuruatherium
  • Family Dasypodidae: long-nosed armadillos
    • Subfamily Dasypodinae
      • Genus Dasypus
      • Genus †Stegotherium
  • Family Chlamyphoridae: glyptodonts and other armadillos
    • Subfamily Chlamyphorinae: fairy armadillos
      • Genus Calyptophractus
      • Genus Chlamyphorus
    • Subfamily Euphractinae: hairy, six-banded and pichi armadillos
      • Genus Chaetophractus
      • Genus †Doellotatus
      • Genus Euphractus
      • Genus †Macroeuphractus
      • Genus †Peltephilus
      • Genus †Proeuphractus
      • Genus †Paleuphractus
      • Genus Zaedyus
    • Subfamily †Glyptodontinae: glyptodonts
      • Genus †Doedicurus
      • Genus †Glyptodon
      • Genus †Glyptotherium
      • Genus †Hoplophorus
      • Genus †Panochthus
      • Genus †Parapropalaehoplophorus
      • Genus †Plaxhaplous
    • Subfamily Tolypeutinae: giant, three-banded and naked-tailed armadillos
      • Genus Cabassous
      • Genus †Kuntinaru[12]
      • Genus Priodontes
      • Genus Tolypeutes
  • Incertae sedis: †Pachyarmatherium


  1. ^ Gardner, AL 2005 "Order Cingulata" In Wilson, DE; Reeder, DM Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference 3rd ed Johns Hopkins University Press pp 94–99 ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0 OCLC 62265494 
  2. ^ Giant Armadillo Priodontes maximus Kerr, 1792 FaunaParaguaycom
  3. ^ a b c d Vizcaíno, S F; De Iuliis, G; Bargo, M S 1998 "Skull Shape, Masticatory Apparatus, and Diet of Vassallia and Holmesina Mammalia: Xenarthra: Pampatheriidae: When Anatomy Constrains Destiny" Journal of Mammalian Evolution 5 4: 291–322 doi:101023/A:1020500127041 Retrieved 2011-10-20 
  4. ^ a b Blanco, R E; Jones, W W; Rinderknecht, A 2009-08-26 "The sweet spot of a biological hammer: the centre of percussion of glyptodont Mammalia: Xenarthra tail clubs" Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276 1675: 3971–3978 doi:101098/rspb20091144 ISSN 0962-8452 PMC 2825778  PMID 19710060 
  5. ^ Mead, J I; Swift, S L; White, R S; McDonald, H G; Baez, A 2007 "Late Pleistocene Rancholabrean Glyptodont and Pampathere Xenarthra, Cingulata from Sonora, Mexico" PDF Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas 24 3: 439–449 see p 440 Retrieved 2013-06-15 
  6. ^ Woodburne, M O 2010-07-14 "The Great American Biotic Interchange: Dispersals, Tectonics, Climate, Sea Level and Holding Pens" Journal of Mammalian Evolution 17 4: 245–264 see p 249 doi:101007/s10914-010-9144-8 ISSN 1064-7554 PMC 2987556  PMID 21125025 
  7. ^ Hubbe, A; Hubbe, M; Neves, W A March 2013 "The Brazilian megamastofauna of the Pleistocene/Holocene transition and its relationship with the early human settlement of the continent" Earth-Science Reviews 118: 1–10 see pages 3, 6 doi:101016/jearscirev201301003 ISSN 0012-8252 
  8. ^ Fiedal, Stuart 2009 "Sudden Deaths: The Chronology of Terminal Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction" In Haynes, Gary American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene Springer pp 21–37 see p 31 doi:101007/978-1-4020-8793-6_2 ISBN 978-1-4020-8792-9 OCLC 313368423 
  9. ^ Dickman, Christopher R 1984 Macdonald, D, ed The Encyclopedia of Mammals New York: Facts on File pp 781–783 ISBN 0-87196-871-1 
  10. ^ Pérez-Crespo, V A; Arroyo-Cabrales, J; Alva-Valdivia, L M; Morales-Puente, P; Cienfuegos-Alvarado, E 2011-10-18 "Diet and habitat definitions for Mexican glyptodonts from Cedral San Luis Potosí, México based on stable isotope analysis" Geological Magazine 149 01: 153–157 doi:101017/S0016756811000951 ISSN 0016-7568 
  11. ^ Delsuc, F; Gibb, G C; Kuch, M; Billet, G; Hautier, L; Southon, J; Rouillard, J-M; Fernicola, J C; Vizcaíno, S F; MacPhee, R DE; Poinar, H N 2016-02-22 "The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts" Current Biology 26 4: R155–R156 doi:101016/jcub201601039 
  12. ^ Guillaume Billet; Lionel Hautier; Christian de Muizon; Xavier Valentin 2011 "Oldest cingulate skulls provide congruence between morphological and molecular scenarios of armadillo evolution" Proceedings of the Royal Society 278: 2791–2797 doi:101098/rspb20102443 PMC 3145180  PMID 21288952 

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