Scientists from the University of Toronto has discovered the remains of ancient pandas age of 10 million years on the territory of modern Hungary.
According to paleontologists, the discovery may serve as proof of the European origin of pandas. The study is published in Geobios.
Now giant pandas live only in mountainous regions of Central China. This bamboo bear is the only surviving member of the subfamily Ailuropodinae of the bear family (Ursidae). The evolution of giant pandas and their origin, scientists knew little.
In the new study, paleontologist David Began found fossil teeth by the age of 10 million years near the village Rudabanya in Hungary. The most ancient remains of the pandas found in China, not more than 8 million years. In further studies, a group of scientists under the leadership Began found that the teeth belong to a previously unknown mind Panda Miomaci panonnicum. The degree of tooth wear specialists determined the diet of ancient pandas. Like the modern relatives of the animal was eating solid vegetable foods. According to scientists, this suggests the similarity of the lifestyles of modern pandas and their ancestors.
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“Miomaci can be considered a direct ancestor, but rather a cousin of the modern Panda. The evolutionary road the animals were divided probably in the middle Miocene era,” said David Behan.
About 5 million years ago tropical forests began to disappear from Europe. Fleeing from climate change, the Panda could migrate from Europe to mainland Asia. Scientists believe that the Hungarian discovery may serve as one clue to the European origin of pandas.
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