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,”
For more information about the source click HERE