But glyptodonts relied on their armor for another reason as well. Each animal also had an armored tail, and paleontologists suspect that the creatures fought among themselves. To this end, each would have used its mace-like appendage to settle disagreements or even bash other given glyptodonts into submission – with enough force to break the other’s armor.
Of course, though, any way the shell was used, it was clearly an impressive piece of defensive hardware. Indeed, it took about 1,000 1-inch-thick bony plates to form a Glyptodon carapace. And to support such a structure on their backs, the animals developed stout legs, fused vertebrae and massive shoulders.