Oldest Panda Fossils Found in a Surprising Place ... Spain

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The Giant Panda may be the unofficial mascot of China, but according to Live Science, Spain should consider adopting the furry animal, as well.

Recently found panda fossils, about 11.6 million years old, suggest that the ancestor of the animal's lineage began in the European country's Iberian peninsula. The fossils share the giant panda's characteristic of eating tough plant material, like bamboo.

The genetic evidence found indicates that the giant panda's ancestors derived from other bears approximately 18 to 22 million years ago. Prior to this finding, the oldest giant panda fossils found were 8.2 million years old, from China.



The study was published in the open-access journal "PLOS ONE," by Juan Abella and his team from the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Catalan Institute of Paleontology, Spain.

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