Metatherians (and a few xenarthran armadillos like Macroeuphractus) were the only South American mammals to specialize as carnivores; their relative inefficiency created openings for nonmammalian predators to play more prominent roles than usual (similar to the situation in Australia).


(The independent development of spines by New and Old World porcupines is another example of parallel evolution.) This invasion most likely came from Africa.Paleognath birds (ratites and South American tinamous) may have migrated by this route around the same time, more likely in the direction from South America to Australia/New Zealand.Other taxa that may have dispersed by the same route (if not by flying or floating across the ocean) are parrots, chelid turtles and (extinct) meiolaniid turtles.They shared their habitat with one of the largest turtles of all time, the 3.3 m (11 ft) Stupendemys.In addition to those extant today (armadillos, anteaters and tree sloths), a great diversity of larger types were present, including pampatheres, the ankylosaur-like glyptodonts, predatory euphractines, various ground sloths, some of which reached the size of elephants (e.g.

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