Friday, September 01, 2006


Fossil tooth expands reach of pandas (China)

From the Shanghai Daily: Scientists announced yesterday they found a giant panda fossil in central China, the first evidence pandas once roamed the area.

The giant panda tooth fossil was unearthed in June at the Lingjing historical site in the city of Xuchang, Henan Province, said Huang Wanbo, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleo-anthropology. It took nearly two months of painstaking analysis to identify the fossil.

Huang said the tooth is almost circular and comes from the right side of the giant panda's lower jaw. Huang believes the panda had a large area of mastication - about two millimeters long and two millimeters wide. The tooth enamel is damaged.

'These protuberances can not be found on the teeth of other bear species. They were formed because the giant panda was gnawing on bamboo,' Huang said.
An earlier (and shorter) report appeared in India's The Hindu.

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