The giant glyptodonts rival their relatives, the giant ground sloths, for the title of 'most impressive beast of South America'. Although they are related to modern armadillos (as well as the sloths and anteaters), they grew to the size of a small car.

Like the ground sloth, glyptodonts became extinct only thousands of years ago, so their remains are still very well preserved. Their great carapaces were probably originally like those of modern armadillos rather than tortoises, made up of many tiny plates called scutes. The carapace would have been more flexible around the edges, where the scutes were laid down in regular lines, and not fused together.

Doedicurus' tail is its most impressive feature. It is solid bone, and at the end are round scars that show where the horny spikes were positioned.