An unexpected panda fossil is the oldest ever found. Why is this significant?

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We have exciting news! 22,000 year old panda bones were found unexpectedly while a fossil researcher was looking for bones of another species, in an area of China.

Why is this significant? Because these are the oldest panda bones ever discovered, and an analysis of the DNA has shown that this ancient panda was a cousin of the giant pandas that live today. It is actually pretty amazing that they were able to extract the DNA from these bones after such a long time! Also, although researchers know that the panda family separated from the bear family about 20 million years ago (livescience.com), and that they used to live in areas outside China, not much more was known about the evolution of the panda. Here’s an opportunity for further study!


Written by: Sunaina Murthy

Quiz put together by Armaan Murthy. Armaan loves football, reading anything written by Rick Riordan, and burgers with french fries.

 

 

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