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    Scientists unearthed fossils in China which are helping them better understand the evolution of the giant panda’s false thumb. The thumb helps the veggie-loving bear to eat the bamboo that makes up most of its diet. Researchers discovered the fossils near the city of Zhaotong in northern Yunnan Province.

    The fossils are about 6 million years old and are the bones of an extinct panda called Ailurarctos. This species bore the oldest-known evidence of an improvised extras digit and a greatly enlarged wrist bone. It closely resembled the false thumb of modern pandas, but is a bit longer and does not have the inward hook on the end. 

    Xiaoming Wang, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County paleontologists said “It uses the false thumb as a very crude opposable thumb to grasp bamboos, sort of like our own thumbs except it is located at the wrist and is much shorter than human thumbs,”

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