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Panda ChiangMaiZoo humarkus.jpg
The giant panda, the only extant species in the genus and subfamily
Ailuropoda fovealis skull.jpg
Ailuropoda fovealis[ clarification needed ] skull
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Subfamily: Ailuropodinae
Genus: Ailuropoda
Milne-Edwards, 1870 [1] [2]
Type species
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
David, 1869 [3]

A. baconi
A. melanoleuca
A. microta
A. wulingshanensis


Ailuropoda is the only extant genus in the ursid (bear) subfamily Ailuropodinae. It contains one living and three fossil species of panda. [4]

Only one species— Ailuropoda melanoleuca —currently exists; the other three species are prehistoric chronospecies. Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivoran, the giant panda has a diet that is primarily herbivorous, which consists almost exclusively of bamboo.

Giant pandas have descended from Ailurarctos , which lived during the late Miocene. [4]

In 2011, fossil teeth from over 11 mya found in the Iberian peninsula were identified as belonging to a previously unidentified species in the Ailuropodinae subfamily. This species was named Agriarctos beatrix [5] (now Kretzoiarctos beatrix ). [6]


Giant panda eye Da Xiong Mao (Yan Jing ).jpg
Giant panda eye

From Greek αἴλουροςaílouros "cat" + ‒ποδός‒podós "foot" (gen. sg.). Unlike most bears, giant pandas do not have round pupils, but instead have vertical slits, similar to those of cats. This has not only inspired the Latin name,[ dubious ] but in Chinese the giant panda is called "large bear cat" (大熊猫, dà xióngmāo) and in Standard Tibetan, "cat bear" (བྱི་ལ དྨོ, byi-la dom).


Other pandas

The red, or lesser, panda (Ailurus fulgens) was formerly considered closely related to the giant panda. It is no longer considered a bear, however, and is now classified as the sole living representative of a different carnivore family (Ailuridae).

Related Research Articles

Bear Family of mammals

Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails.

Giant panda Species of mammal

The giant panda, also known as the panda bear or simply the panda, is a bear native to south central China. It is characterised by large, black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. Giant pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

Red panda Species of mammal

The red panda is a mammal species native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because the wild population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and continues to decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression. Despite its name, it is not closely related to the giant panda.

Sesamoid bone

In anatomy, a sesamoid bone is a bone embedded within a tendon or a muscle. It is derived from the Latin word sesamum, indicating the small size of most sesamoids. Often, these bones form in response to strain, or can be present as a normal variant. The kneecap is the largest sesamoid bone in the body. Sesamoids act like pulleys, providing a smooth surface for tendons to slide over, increasing the tendon's ability to transmit muscular forces.

<i>Gigantopithecus</i> an extinct genus of primate

Gigantopithecus is an extinct genus of ape from the Early to Middle Pleistocene of southern China, represented by one species, G. blacki. Potential identifications have also been made in Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The first remains of Gigantopithecus, two third molar teeth, were identified in a drugstore by anthropologist Ralph von Koenigswald in 1935, who subsequently described the ape. In 1956, the first mandible and over 1,000 teeth were found in Liucheng, and numerous more remains have since been found in at least 16 sites. Only teeth and 4 mandibles are known currently, and other skeletal elements were likely consumed by porcupines before they could fossilise. Gigantopithecus was once argued to be a hominin, a member of the human line, but it is now thought to be closely allied with orangutans, classified in the subfamily Ponginae.

Ailuropodinae subfamily of bears consisting of pandas

Ailuropodinae is a subfamily of Ursidae that contains only one extant species, the giant panda of China. The fossil record of this group have shown that various species of pandas were more widespread across the Holarctic, with species found in places such as Europe, much of Asia and even North America. The earliest pandas were not unlike other modern bear species in that they had an omnivorous diet but by around 2.4 million years, pandas have evolved to be more herbivorous.

Ailuropoda microta 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. 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 3 million years as a completely separate lineage from that of other bears.

Wushan Man Fossil of an extinct non-hominin ape of central China from 2 mya

Wushan Man is a set of fossilised remains of an extinct, undetermined non-hominin ape found in central China in 1985. The remains are dated to around 2 million years ago and were originally considered to represent a subspecies of Homo erectus.

Ailurarctos is an extinct genus of panda from the Late Miocene of China, some 8 million years ago, and is the oldest known member of the ursid subfamily Ailuropodinae.

Tillodontia suborder of mammals (fossil)

Tillodontia is an extinct suborder of eutherian mammals known from the Early Paleocene to Late Eocene of China, the Late Paleocene to Middle Eocene of North America where they display their maximum species diversity, the Middle Eocene of Pakistan, and the Early Eocene of Europe. Leaving no descendants, they are most closely related to the pantodonts, another extinct group. The tillodonts were medium- to large-sized animals that probably feed on roots and tubers in temperate to subtropical habitats.

Ursavini is an extinct tribe of mammals of the family Ursidae (bears) endemic to North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia during Miocene through Pliocene, living from about 23—2.5 Mya, existing for roughly 20.5 million years.

Ursavus is an extinct genus of bear that existed in North America, Europe, and Asia during the Miocene period, about 23–5.3 million years ago (Mya), existing for roughly 17.7 million years . The genus apparently dispersed from Asia into North America about 20 Mya, becoming the earliest member of the subfamily Ursinae in the New World. Qiu points out that if a questionable 29 million-year-old specimen of Ursavus reported in North America is validated, Ursavus may have evolved in North America and dispersed westward into Asia. The higher number of fossils in Europe grading toward eastern Asia make the westward dispersal unlikely.

Simosthenurus occidentalis is a species of sthenurine marsupial that existed in Australia during the Pliocene, becoming extinct in the Pleistocene epoch around 42 000 years ago. A large herbivorous biped that resembles large kangaroos, the species had a heavier body than the modern roo. The structure of the skull and teeth indicates it consumed tough vegetation, resembling koalas and panda bears, and is referred to as a short-faced kangaroo.

Rebecca Spindler is the Head of Science and Conservation at non profit conservation organisation Bush Heritage Australia. She previously was the Manager of Research and Conservation at Taronga Conservation Society Australia, in the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

<i>Kretzoiarctos beatrix</i> species of mammal

Kretzoiarctos beatrix is an extinct bear from the European Miocene and an ancestor of the extant giant panda.

Ailuropoda baconi is an extinct panda from the Late Pleistocene, 750 thousand years ago, and was preceded by A. wulingshanensis and A. microta as an ancestor of the giant panda. Very little is known about this animal; however, its latest fossils have been dated to the Late Pleistocene.

This article records new taxa of fossil mammals of every kind that have been described during the year 2011, as well as other significant discoveries and events related to paleontology of mammals that occurred in the year 2011.

Hualong Cave is a cave in Pangwang village in Dongzhi County, Anhui Province, China, and situated on the southern bank of Yangtze. It is located on the side of Meiyuan Hill. Palaeontological interest started in 2004 when a farmer accidentally found bones that were later identified as mammalian fossils. Excavations started in 2006 by paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It has yielded many stone tools and over 30 human fossils, and animal bones including those of Ailuropoda, Arctonyx, Bubalus, Sinomegaceros, Stegodon, giant tapir, and giant pandas. The most notable fossils are that of a Homo erectus described in 2014, and that of a 300,000-year-old archaic human discovered in 2019.


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