Skulls of Red and Giant Pandas Provide Insight into Coexistence
New research on the skulls of red pandas and giant pandas provides further explanation as to why the two species—which are not closely related but dine on the same food, bamboo, in the same geographic area—are able to coexist. Using high-resolution imaging and biting simulations, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Málaga in Spain found that the skulls of the two panda species not only are distantly related but also have structural differences related to the way the animals chew. These substantial differences reflect distinct bamboo feeding preferences, with red pandas foraging on softer parts of the plant and giant pandas seeking out the tougher stems. The findings are published in the journal Biology Letters.