How It Works
What are armadillo scales made from and why have they evolved them?
The scales – or scutes – that cover the majority of an armadillo’s body are made from the same material that makes up fingernails – keratin. This hard and durable material is a great line of defence against predators, acting as a biological shield once they have balled up to protect vulnerable areas of their body not equipped with a keratin coating. Much like the scales of pangolins or the spines of porcupines, armadillos evolved this natural shield as a defence mechanism against predators around 50 million years ago.