Pandas have been eating bamboo for at least six million years. Research on the fossils of vegetarian bear-like pandas has revealed the history of these giant animals’ eating habits.
In China’s Yunnan province, a team of Chinese and American paleontologists examined fossils dating back six million years.
The thumb-like wrist bones of the fossils revealed the history of their eating habits.
Pandas were feeding on bamboo at least six million years ago.
-Fossil of a wrist bone resembling a thumb
According to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, a large wrist bone called a radial sesamoid was identified in the fossils.
This bone, which looks like a false thumb, allows pandas to easily grasp and break bamboo.
According to the researchers, this bone in the fossils is evidence that pandas were eating bamboo six million years ago.
-Pandas can eat for 15 hours
Pandas, which can eat up to 15 hours a day, can consume about 45 kilograms of bamboo a day.
Known as the only vegetarian bear due to their eating habits, pandas are also known to occasionally hunt small animals.