Bears and Bamboo: The fossil record of giant pandas
Where do giant pandas come from? Of course, the proximal answer involves a male and female panda – and maybe some panda porn, if life in captivity dampens the mood – but I’m not talking about that. What I’m wondering about is the evolutionary origin of these bamboo-eating bears.
Until recently, there was little to be said about the prehistory of pandas. A few skulls, mandibles, and other assorted fragments from caves and fissures in southwestern Asia were all that had turned up. Prior to the origin of the modern panda, the larger species Ailuropoda baconi lived during the past 750,000 years, and was preceded by the poorly-known Ailuropoda wulingshanensis and