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Giant Panda: Bear or Raccoon ?

Why is there a debate about whether pandas are bears or raccoons?

In terms of body shape and physical characteristics, giant pandas look closer to Uridae, ancient panda fossils and chromosome tests have proven that giant pandas are closer to Uridae, especially Indian and Malay bears.

However, the red panda appeared later. From the skull, face pattern, teeth, the tail of the newborn panda cub and the shape of the genitals, etc., the panda is more like an enlarged version of the red panda.

The evidences also show that the panda’s digestive tract is relatively short, while other herbivores (giant pandas eat mainly vegetables) have a longer digestive tract (if the body size increases, then the length of the digestive tract may be shorter) ; skeletal characteristics of giant pandas are quite different from other bears. The most remarkable thing is that they have almost the same living area, and their main food is bamboo. Also, pandas don’t hibernate.

There are generally two viewpoints on the classification of giant pandas in the academic world.: One is that the giant panda belongs to the family of bears, and the other one is that the giant pandas are categorized in another family. Although the scientific discovery of giant pandas has been established for more than 100 years, the classification of giant pandas is still inconclusive.

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