Ailuropoda microta


Ailuropoda microta
Ailuropoda microta
Temporal range: Late Pliocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ailuropoda
Species: A. microta
Binomial name
Ailuropoda microta

Ailuropoda microta, rarely called the Dwarf Panda, Dwarf Giant Panda, or Pygmy Giant Panda, is the earliest known ancestor of the Giant Panda. It measured 1 m (3 ft.) in length; the modern Giant Panda grows to a size in excess of 1.5 m (5 ft.). Wear patterns on its teeth suggest it lived on a diet of bamboo, the primary food of the Giant Panda. The first discovered skull of the animal in a south China limestone cave is estimated to be 2 million years old.[1] The skull found is about half the size of a modern day giant panda, but is anatomically very similar. This research suggests that the giant panda has evolved for more than three million years as a completely separate lineage from that of other bears.

References

  1. ^ Jin, Changzhu; Russell L. Ciochon, Wei Dong, Robert M. Hunt Jr., Jinyi Liu, Marc Jaeger and Qizhi Zhu (2007-06-26). "The first skull of the earliest giant panda" (pdf). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (26): 10932–10937. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704198104. PMC 1904166. PMID 17578912. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0704198104v1. Retrieved 2007-06-19.