The origin and evolution of giant panda

Chinese:Da Xiong Mao
English:Giant panda
Scientific Name:Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Class: Mammalia; Order: Carnivora
Conservation Level:Endangered species
Distribution: Sichuan, Gansu, and Shanxi of China

giant panda

According to fossil records, pandas are found existing as early as 8~9 million years ago. Those are immediate forebears of the giant pandas – Yunnan Lufeng Ailuaractos lufengensis, and their size was only one quarter as big as the giant pandas. Three million years ago, the Ailuaractos lufengensis evolved into smaller giant pandas (Ailuropoda microta) with a size of half of the modern giant pandas. It is believed that they have gradually evolved into omnivores that their diet has changed to include bamboos. After the two-million-year ice age, the smaller giant pandas have adapted to the extreme climate change. They started gaining in body size. In about 600 thousand years from now, they evolved into modern giant pandas.

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