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Ancient pandas were not exclusive bamboo eaters, it suggests bone tests

Foping Natural Reserve A wild wild panda, nourished with bamboo. Credit: Fuwen Wei

We know the giant pandas and love to live today only under the particular mountainous mountains of China, where they only keep bamboo. They have strong banana diet and fiber to help you with a special pseudo-thumb, dental, skull and muscle features that can support better stitches, leaves, and shoots. But according to the evidence reported Current biology On January 31st, obsolete and ancient panda species probably had an abundant and complex diet.

"The huge pandas are allowed to accept only food separated in the last two million years," says Fuwen Wei, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. But "our results showed the opposite".

It is impossible to know what extinct animals eat. But researchers can get traces of the composition of stable isotopes (the same forms of the same element that have the same number of protons and have the same number of neutrons) in animal teeth, hair and bones, including traces of fossils. In the new study, the researchers studied the first bone collagen in the modern pandas (1970s, 2000s) and other mammals in the mountain.

A stable composition of carbon and nitrogen isotope, modern panda and other modern bone mammalian samples, is represented by three violent groups: carnivores, herbivores and giant pandas. The giant pandas were clear, depending on the habit of eating bamboo. Next, the isotopes of the Wei group's bone marrow collagen were measured by the isotopes of the ancient pandas collected from seven archaeological southern and southwest China tribes in south and south-western South Asia.

Data comparison shows that the ancient and modern pandas differ from one isotope to each other, suggesting the differences in dietary habits. There were also more variations among the ancient panda species than the more modern pandas that were three times broader than the tube. That is, antique pandas probably had a different diet, similar to those of other mammals that lived next to them. The researchers wrote, "Probably not bamboo feeders."

Researchers suggest that pandas have evolved in both stages of dietary habits. First of all, pandas were meat or omnivorous until plant eaters became attractive. Only later they were specialized in bamboo.

The researchers say that today I would like to know exactly what pandas have in the specialized diet. To find out, they want to collect and study panda samples over the past five years.

Explore more:
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More information:
Current biology, Han et al.: "Dietary Evolution and Stable Analysis of Isotopes Handover Pandas Recruitment" https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30004-1, DOI: 10.1016 / j. cub.2018.12.051

Magazine reference:
Current biology

Cell Press

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