What is the origin of Panda?
Panda is a mammal of the ursidae family which lives in China in the humid forests where bamboo grows. It is the result of an evolution in time that has shaped it as it is today.
With its black and white colours, Panda is an eye-catching animal. It has become popular thanks to its cute appearance that has conquered the hearts of millions of people around the world.
The ancestors of the giant panda
The oldest trace of the giant Panda found in China dates back more than 8 million years.
Before that, the Creodont which lived more than 60 million years ago shared characteristics similar to those of Panda. During its evolution, it became the Ailurarctos, a species similar in appearance to Panda, with longer limbs. It was by living in bamboo forests that the panda evolved into its final form to become the animal we know today.
The giant Panda has a common ancestor with the red panda, that is why it was related to rodents for a long time even though the two species are not part of the same family.
Also, both species are carnivorous but they only eat bamboo although they are carnivorous. This anomaly can be explained by similar developmental conditions which led them to eat bamboo.
The sixth finger they have in common is used to grasp bamboo shoots which they spend their time chewing as they do not have the right jaws for this kind of food. Also the long naps they have to take for digestion prevents them from taking the time to hunt, which makes them a little more prone to eating plants.
Unfortunately, the development of human activity reduces the living space of Panda, which notices its bamboo forests diminished year after year.
The origins of the giant Panda's color
Since the discovery of the bicoloured Panda by Father David in the 19th century, scientists have been wondering about the origin of its colours and spots. They have studied the specimens at their disposal in order to draw conclusions.
According to them, there are two explanations for this particularity. The first one is that the black and white colours prevent stinging flies from attacking Panda. As with zebras in Africa, Pandas are protected from dangerous fly attacks to ensure their survival. The second one is that Panda uses the white areas of its body to hide in the snow.