A new species of panda – scientists have found a fossil panda that lived in Europe 6 million years ago

A pair of fossil teeth that have been in the museum’s collection for over 40 years have told scientists about pandas that lived in Europe about six million years ago. When the researchers examined this specimen, they found that the teeth belonged to a previously unknown species of these animals. Live science.

The new species was a close relative of modern giant pandas. Scientists believe that representatives of this species were the last pandas in Europe.

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Teeth – the upper canine and the upper incisor – were discovered back in the 1970s in northwestern Bulgaria and were kept in the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia. They were never properly cataloged and remained unexplored all these years. Recently, museum staff again stumbled upon these teeth and decided to study them.

The analysis showed that the teeth belonged to a European panda, but the remains were not similar to the teeth of other pandas found in Europe. Most ancient species had much smaller teeth than modern giant pandas, which may indicate that their body size was also smaller.

But the new species, which was named Agriarctos nikolovi, had much larger teeth than usual in European pandas, so it was most likely similar in size to modern giant relatives. In addition, the teeth date from a later period than those of other European pandas, suggesting that A. nikolovi was probably the last panda species to inhabit the continent.

The scientists also emphasize that the similarity in size between the new species and modern giant pandas does not mean that it was a direct ancestor of these animals. However, he is their “close relative”, who lived in a completely different habitat.

Fossilized teeth were found in coal deposits, which partially stained them black. The composition of the coal indicated that the region was once a wetland. This means that the new species had a much more varied diet than modern pandas, eating a variety of soft plants rather than one such as bamboo.

The researchers note that the digestive system of pandas, like other bears, is able to digest meat. It is likely that they switched to a bamboo diet as they could not compete with other bears. According to scientists, A. nikolovi may also have experienced something similar, and were forced to switch to a vegetarian diet. The teeth of this species were much weaker than those of modern pandas. This means that he could not even eat bamboo and harder foods such as animal bones.

Scientists suggest that this species became extinct due to climatic changes that affected its habitat and diet.

Former scientists discovered the oldest human ancestor. It was a toothless, eel-like creature that lived on Earth about 400 million years ago.

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