For most farmers, their day-to-day duties consist of tending to their land and knowing how to reap the most from their crops. While these agriculture experts are used to checking on the daily progress on their farms, they sometimes come across extraordinary finds that are completely unexpected. Such was the case for one unsuspecting farmer who happened to come across a mysterious object that turned out to have belonged to something completely unexpected–something that went extinct many years ago. Keep reading to find out what the farmer’s bizarre discovery actually turned out to be. Believe us, you don’t want to miss it!
Farmer Jose Antonio Nievas was just getting some fresh air while enjoying a casual Christmas Day in 2015 stroll along his grounds when something unusual happened that would forever be ingrained in the memory of those far beyond his small town.
The farm was a common place to find various kinds of plants and animals, but on that unassuming day, Nievas stumbled across something that he had never encountered in his line of work and completely left him in a state of shock and wonder.
Jose Antonio Nievas’ farm was located in Carlos Spegazzini, a city about located 25 miles (40 km) south of Buenos Aires. It was during his stroll when he passed a stream on his property and something striking caught his eye.
Unassumingly wedged in the bank of the stream was a large, rounded object that he initially thought looked like a giant stone. However, as he approached the item, he realized that it was in fact not a large rock.
As he got closer, Nievas observed that it was in fact not a stone at all. The strange object was partly covered in mud and he couldn’t determine what it was. As he tried to clear the grime off of the round object, he started to associate it with something else.
There seemed to be textured scales covering the odd discovery that was mostly a dark color with some unusual green hues covering some areas. The Argentinian farmer definitely couldn’t identify it and probably never would have guessed what it really was.
Nieves attempted for some time to dig the mystifying object out of the mud and clean it to get a better look. Nonetheless, he was having trouble dislodging it from the riverbank and needed another pair of helping hands to assist.
The local farmer then called his wife over for reinforcement, telling her that he thought he had found something incredible. However, when he explained the object to his wife, Reina Coronel, she didn’t believe him and thought he was pulling her leg.
“My husband went out to the car and when he came back he said, ‘Hey, I just found an egg that looks like it came from a dinosaur,” she said. “We all laughed because we thought it was a joke.” But it was, in fact, not a joke at all.
Reina eventually came to help her husband out, but it turned out that the unusual find wasn’t actually a giant relic that could have been a prop on the set of Jurassic Park. The family was left utterly confused, but they would soon learn the astonishing truth.
The couple continued their efforts to extract the discovery, working carefully and deliberately so as not to harm the object. Despite their attempted excavation, however, the pair realized that the object was larger than they had initially estimated.
The duo realized they needed more help and decided to call the police to see if they could help identify it and remove it from the muddy waters. No one was expecting what happened when the authorities arrived.
By the time the police arrived at Jose’s farm, so had a mass of townspeople who were crowding around to get a look at the spectacle and take pictures of it. Although everyone was trying to put their heads together to explain the oval object, neither the police nor the public could reach a conclusion.
The authorities were just as baffled as Jose and his family and couldn’t provide any explanation. Luckily, Jose’s dog had made its way over to the scene and started behaving in a way that provided a hint about the nature of the unexplainable discovery.
Jose’s dog had made its way over to all of the commotion and started exploring the area of the riverbed where the big, bizarre object was found. The curious dog started sniffing and barking at it leading the human observers to realize that this was more than just an ordinary stone.
The people of Carlos Spegazzini began offering their guesses about the scaly mystery. Still, none of those who had flocked to Jose’s farm to witness the extraordinary discovery could offer a logical explanation. That’s when the police decided that further action was necessary.
At this point, the authorities decided to defer to more specialized experts in the field and summoned two local archaeologists who could hopefully explain the out-of-this world discovery. The archaeologists were thrilled to have the opportunity to study the rare discovery.
Although they couldn’t conclusively determine what it was at first, they did provide an initial estimate: that it was a relic from ancient times. Still, the scientists said they would need to run further tests. As they prepared to remove it and transfer it to a lab, they had a shocking realization.
As the archaeologists further removed the mud and attempted to dig the giant egg-shaped item out of the riverbed, they realized just how enormous and heavy it was. The group of excavators struggled to move the shell due to its consistency of hard material and weight of nearly two tons!
The experts had to wade in the muddy water and wet earth to carefully dig around the enormous artifact. They were finally able to extract it and carefully load it for transport to the lab, where additional research would provide an extraordinary answer.
The archaeologists ran extensive examinations and looked at samples of the mysterious shell-like structure under the microscope. The scientists observed what couldn’t necessarily be confirmed by the naked eye, and they were extremely excited by what they saw.
What they determined, was that Jose’s discovery was not actually an egg or extra-terrestrial object. Nonetheless, the results would provide a huge shock those who had found it, and the rest of the world at that.
Much to everyone’s shock, the scientists revealed that the two ton discovery actually had an explanation. As it turned out, they said that the giant object was, in fact, an extremely well-preserved ancient fossil belonging to a prehistoric beast.
Experts agreed that the enormous fossil dating back about 10,000 years had in fact been the armored, turtle-like shell of the long-extinct prehistoric creature called a glyptodon. Finally an answer! But how did the fossilized glyptodon shell end up on Jose Antonio Nievas’ farm?
Word got out that the mysterious 2 ton discovery was a giant glyptodon shell, and wonder ensued. While experts said that it is very rare to find such an intact fossil belonging to the prehistoric creature, it did occasionally occur.
Still, questions loomed about the legitimacy of the discovery’s identity and skeptics doubted that the shell could have been preserved in such good condition and in an upright position, as it is believed that glyptodon often died after being turned over on their shell.
More experts chimed in and some even addressed suspicions that the mysterious discovery had been a staged hoax. While other scientists couldn’t draw conclusive answers unless the studied the relic directly, photographs and footage of the shell led many experts to paint a pretty vivid picture.
Prof. Adrian Lister of the Natural History Museum in London was one who explained that it was common to find such fossils in flowing bodies of water where erosion gradually reveals ancient shells and bones. The mud could have also served as a preservative casing. But that wasn’t all.
“It would be an ingenious hoaxer who would construct such a thing,” said Prof. Lister. “The shell looks like a genuine glyptodon shell, and the hole is “wear and tear,” not where the head or tail went,” he added.
Other experts who saw televised images of the artifact agreed that it looked like a glyptodon shell. “There is no doubt that it looks like a glyptodon,” said paleontologist Alejandro Kramarz of the Bernadino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum. But what was this unusual creature?
Although they may not be as commonly known as other prehistoric creatures like the giant sloth and saber-toothed cats, glyptodons roamed Earth during the last Ice Age. Roughly the same size and weight as a Volkswagen Beetle, these mammals are recognized by their rounded, plated armor (or carapace) that measured about two inches thick.
The species also had a protective bony cap on the top of their skull and a spiked tail that it could swing to help them ward off predators or use during intraspecies fighting. Glyptodons were relatively peaceful herbivores that grazed near lakes and rivers.
While questions were raised about the genuine nature of the fossil found on Jose Antonio Nievas’ farm, it is known that glyptodons originally evolved in South America and lived on the continent for tens of millions of years.
Their remains have also been found in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. When the continent of South and North America fused during the Great American Interchange, the species migrated northward and reach the southern part of what is now the U.S. about 2.5 years ago. But the story doesn’t end there.
“The animal became extinct thousands of years ago and it is very common to find their fossils in this region,” paleontologist Alejandro Kramarz told AFP. Although the now-extinct animals most-recently lived thousands of years ago, researchers continue to study their surprising relation with another species that could have led to their extinction.
Evidence shows that humans hunted these huge armored animals and used their domed shells for shelter before they went extinct around 10,000 years ago. Their extinction is believed to have coincided with the human arrival to the Americas. And while mankind has outlasted these extraordinary extinct animals, you are likely familiar with their modern-day ancestors.
Although the mammoth size of glyptodons had raised doubt about their lineage, scientists had long suspected that they were ancient relatives of a fairly common land animal that is a much smaller mammal but also has a protective armor shell.
Glyptodons were enormous compared to their modern-day contemporaries, but the prehistoric animals are related to none other than the present-day armadillo. Keeping their size in mind, there was one more surprising thing that scientists discovered about the glyptodon fossil found by the farmer in Argentina.
The large fossil found on the farm in Argentina was seemingly gigantic in size, measuring about three feet long. However, paleontologists estimated that the shell had belonged to a juvenile glyptodon seeing that fully-mature members of the species could measure up to 11 feet in length.
It is amazing to think that these huge beasts once roamed these now-inhabited lands and the amazing discovery of the well-kept glyptodon remnant found by Jose Antonio Nieves no doubt helped scientists uncover further breakthroughs about the mysteries of these extinct animals.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Guardian