It is the oldest panda DNA specimen ever collected by archaeologists.
This fossil is only a small part of the panda and at first archaeologists couldn’t tell what it was.
They meticulously collected 148,329 microscopic pieces of DNA from fossils, underwent a sophisticated “puzzle” process, and compared them to the DNA of modern pandas. The results showed that it was entirely owned by a panda that roamed the earth 22,000 years ago.
The 22,000-year-old fossil specimen has been identified as coming from an ancient panda – photo provided by the team
The above work is done by a research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In an article just published on June 18 in the scientific journal Current Biology, they said the precious fossil was discovered in the Cizhutuo cave in Guangxi, a place where pandas are not inhabited today. .
The panda’s DNA 22,000 years ago is very different from modern pandas. Scientists believe this is because they have to adapt to many different climatic stages. 22,000 years ago the world went through an ice age and then got much warmer, forcing all animals to adapt in order to survive.
The origins of pandas, whose full name is “giant panda”, date back to around 20 million years ago. It was then that the ancestors of the pandas began to separate from the bear family and develop with their own characteristics.
However, archaeologists do not have clear data on how they change and evolve. Because the 22,000-year-old fossil mentioned above is the oldest part of the body of this species that humans have discovered.