Most of us think we know what’s on our property. Sometimes, though, things just pop up that we never knew were waiting there, hiding…
A Mysterious Find
This amazing story takes us all the way to Argentina, at a farm some 25 miles away from Buenos Aires, the capital of the country. On Christmas Day, 2015, an Argentinian farmer named José Antonio Nievas was taking a nice stroll on his property with his dogs. Suddenly, he stumbled across something he had never seen before.
Is It A Stone?
What appeared to be a massive boulder was sitting in a stream that crossed his property. Nievas’ farm is far from covered with boulders of this size, yet finding one by the bank of a creek shouldn’t have been anything unusual. That being said, something about the giant rock caught his eye. He looked at it again and realized something was very different about it. He decided to approach it, just to get a closer look.
Definitely Not A Stone
As Nievas moved in for a closer look, he noticed that it didn’t resemble any other rock he had seen. The bizarre object was somewhat submerged in mud, making it hard for Nievas to identify what type of object it was. He began cleaning off the object. By the time he touched it, he realized with alarm that there was an odd pattern. What could it be? Nievas tried in vain to take the mysterious football-shaped object out of the mud and soon realized that he needed someone else’s help.
A Dinosaur Egg?
Nievas called over his wife, Reina. There was something amazing here that he found, he told her. What could it be? When she heard what her husband said he had uncovered, she thought he was having a go at her. As she tells it: “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. We all laughed because we thought it was a joke.”
Applying Elbow Grease
But this was no laughing matter. Nievas finally got Reina to come out and help him with the supposed dinosaur egg. Little did they know it wouldn’t turn out to be an egg at all, even though it looks like something used in the movie Jurassic Park. They would later discover it actually originated much later than the Jurassic Period. The massive football-shaped object may have confused both of them, but they wasted no time getting to work. They just rolled their sleeves right up and tried to move it.
Heavier Than They Thought
The pair crouched down to pick it up properly without hurting themselves. In addition, they made sure they were extra careful to not damage the object, which looked as if it might be fragile. They heaved and they hoed, but they couldn’t make it move. It was much heavier and larger than they had originally thought, as it turns out. It wasn’t long before they realized they would need some serious help to take it out of the stream.
Who You Gonna Call?
But who could they call to help? They needed help not just to move it out of the stream, but also to identify it and tell them what in the world it could be. They decided to call the police, who for sure would be able to help them, they thought. If anyone they knew could, it would be the authorities. So the police sent some officers to the Nievas’ farm. What they found, however, was not something anyone could have expected.
The Authorities Arrive
As police interceptors arrived at the Nievas’ farm, they discovered that a large group of people had congregated around the creek to try to get a closer look at the odd, egg-shaped thing. They were snapping pictures of the bizarre object, also unsure of what in the world it could be. While the police aren’t usually experts in geological formations or dinosaur eggs, they are experts at uncovering the truth. Could it be that one of the officers knew what it was?
The Mystery Remains
Nievas and the neighbors really had no clue what the object was, and they relied on the police to give them some answers. Unfortunately, the cops were just as stumped as everyone else. As good as the Argentinian police are at uncovering the truth through detective work, they would need further assistance before they could provide an explanation to the Nievas. Just when everyone was certain they were stuck at an impasse with the object, the Nievas’ family dog began behaving very peculiarly…
Not Just A Rock
Intrigued by the gathering of so many people, José’s dog came to see what all the commotion was about. While the humans were looking at the object from a distance, the dog needed to get a bit closer to see just what the people were making noise over. As he approached the giant object, the people were shocked to see him start sniffing it and barking. That’s not the way a dog would behave normally if it was a rock. Something about this was indeed different.
One by one, the Argentinian farmers started offering suggestions as to what this mysterious object could be. The police officers also threw out some suggestions, but no one offered anything that came close to the truth. The townsfolk were lost, without any clue of how to proceed. Should they move it and only then identify it? Maybe if they all tried to move it together, they would be able to. Luckily for them, the police knew exactly who to call.
Calling In The Experts
The police have connections in all sorts of places, so it makes sense that they would be the ones to finally call up the right experts. The townspeople might still be there guessing if it weren’t for the authorities. They called up two local archaeologists, who promptly came down. Would they be able to explain what this bizarre object was doing on a farmer’s property near Buenos Aires? It turns out that yes, they could, and they were more than happy to use their expertise to answer questions.
Removing The Object
The archaeologists who arrived were surprised at the sheer weight of the object as they attempted to take it out of the riverbed. They waded into the muddy water, struggling to move it. The spectators looked at the experts themselves pushing and pulling. Finally, the excavation experts extricated the enormous object from the riverbed. They then transported the object to a lab where it would be studied under state-of-the-art instruments by the best in the field. Only then would they all have an answer.
At The Lab
Once the object was in the lab, the archaeologists were able to run tests with special instruments that would be able to tell them much more than they could with just the naked eye. First, they inspected the odd hexagonal pattern under a microscope. Next, they began conducting all sorts of other tests on the item. When the results came back, the experts started to become extremely excited. It turns out this was far more unique and rare than anyone could have thought.
Not An Egg
People were shocked to discover that this was no egg at all. As it weighed a whopping two tons, it’s easy to see why people thought it might have been a giant rock. Despite this, they found that it really did come from a prehistorical animal. It wasn’t an egg, the experts revealed; it was actually the fossilized shell of a prehistoric creature. But what creature did it come from? And how long had the object been sitting in the riverbed?
The two-ton find was deemed to be a shell belonging to a Glyptodon, an extinct genus of mammals. It was extremely rare, the experts noted, to find a specimen in this good of shape. In general, the pieces will be found more fragmented than virtually whole, as Nievas found his specimen. Besides a hole, it was completely intact. Experts remarked on the rarity of discovering such a specimen in this pristine of a condition, commenting that it was quite an astonishing find, indeed.
Could It Be A Hoax?
After word got out about the recently-discovered fossil, other experts began chiming in. Some pointed out that all of this may well be an elaborate hoax. Other experts emphasized that they couldn’t pass judgment until they studied the fossil themselves, relying only on what was provided by the Argentinians. That being said, the pictures and footage told experts many things that pointed to it being real. It just seemed too unlikely for the discovery of this rare object to have been staged.
“A Genuine Glyptodon Shell”
Professor Adrian Lister of the National History Museum in London noted that “it would be an ingenious hoaxer who would construct such a thing. The shell looks like a genuine Glyptodon shell, and the hole is ‘wear and tear,’ not where the head or tail went.” For the hoaxer to be so knowledgeable about the rare prehistoric animals, he or she would have had to be an experienced archaeologist that for some reason decided to make the replica and place it in a random Argentinian riverbed.
What Is A Glyptodon?
Glyptodons are animals that emerge in the fossil records starting from some 5.3 million years ago. They were about as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and had massive, plated armor that covered their midsection. This shell was about two inches thick. Regarding the fossil’s authenticity, a point in the Nievas’ favor is that these animals did indeed evolve in South America, living there until they went extinct around the time of the last ice age, some 11,600 years ago.
Just how common were these animals? According to paleontologist Alejandro Kramarz, “the animal became extinct thousands of years ago and it is very common to find their fossils in this region.” Why did they die out, though? The creature was able to survive for millions of years, and yet they suddenly vanish from the fossil record. Why? According to experts, there are several different hypotheses that answer how this came about. One of the most intriguing ones involves Glyptodons’ relationship to another species that we are extremely familiar with.
Why They Died
Glyptodons’ date of extinction apparently coincides with human presence in the Americas. It’s reasonable to assume that human hunting had a part in bringing about their eventual demise. The large animals likely provided these early humans with food and shelter, as the massive shells could have been used to protect them from the elements. And while we may have outlasted these majestic creatures, we are far more familiar with their modern-day relatives. You may have already guessed what they are: armadillos!
Just A Kid
Although the massive shell the Argentinian farmer found on his property was so large he couldn’t lift it, not even with his wife, it was actually quite small compared to how big a Glyptodon’s shell can get. Paleontologists surmised that the two-ton, three-foot-long shell belonged to a young animal based on its size, as a fully grown member of the species can actually grow up to 11 feet in length! That definitely would have been a site to see.
More Fossil Evidence
The Americas were once covered with mammals like this. It’s hard to imagine what the world looked like so many years ago when these colossal creatures roamed the land. Specimens such as this one can help scientists make the next breakthrough in understanding these fascinating creatures. There is still much disagreement on what they even looked like, with some even saying Glyptodons likely had trunks like an elephant. What’s certain is that there is more fossil evidence waiting to be discovered — maybe even in your own backyard!