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How pandas may be eating their way to extinction

How pandas may be eating their way to extinction

A giant panda may look like a vegetarian on the outside, but it definitely looks like a carnivore on the inside. A genetic analysis of 121 samples of panda poop finds that the community of microbes living inside these animals’ guts is optimized to digest meat. This is despite the fact that giant pandas have been eating bamboo for at least 7 million years, and that the plant has been the bears’ sole food source for at least 2 million years. The findings, published Tuesday in the journal mBio, may not bode well for the endangered species. Only about 1,600 giant pandas remain in the forests of northern and central China. “The peculiar characteristics of its gut...

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