Ailuropoda microta

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Ailuropoda microta
Temporal range: Late Pliocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ailuropoda
Species: A. microta
Binomial name
Ailuropoda microta
Pei, 1962

Ailuropoda microta, rarely called the Dwarf Panda, Dwarf Giant Panda, or Pygmy Giant Panda, is the earliest known ancestor of the Giant Panda. It measured 1 m (3 ft.) in length; the modern Giant Panda grows to a size in excess of 1.5 m (5 ft.). Wear patterns on its teeth suggest it lived on a diet of bamboo, the primary food of the Giant Panda. The first discovered skull of the animal in a south China limestone cave is estimated to be 2 million years old.[1] The skull found is about half the size of a modern day giant panda, but is anatomically very similar. This research suggests that the giant panda has evolved for more than three million years as a completely separate lineage from that of other bears.


  1. ^ Jin, Changzhu; Russell L. Ciochon, Wei Dong, Robert M. Hunt Jr., Jinyi Liu, Marc Jaeger and Qizhi Zhu (2007-06-26). "The first skull of the earliest giant panda" (pdf). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (26): 10932–10937. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704198104. PMC 1904166. PMID 17578912. Retrieved 2007-06-19.