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(CNN)   Battle between D'awww and STEM: Pandas evolved an extra thumb just to eat that crappy bamboo   (cnn.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Giant Panda, modern pandas, Previous research, giant panda's sixth digit, peculiar sixth finger, Bear, scant panda fossil record, Ailuropoda melanoleuca  
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425 clicks; posted to D'awww » and STEM » on 30 Jun 2022 at 10:50 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-06-30 11:00:37 PM  
Four thumbs up
 
2022-06-30 11:02:49 PM  
I imagine their digestive systems are specialized too.
 
2022-07-01 12:03:30 AM  
 
2022-07-01 12:03:35 AM  

morg: I imagine their digestive systems are specialized too.


Surprisingly not much.
They eat a huge amount, it passes rapidly through them, and they poop a lot. The fur on pandas' asses is white but is often stained brown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_panda#Diet
the giant panda still has the digestive system of a carnivore, as well as carnivore-specific genes,[55] and thus derives little energy and little protein from consumption of bamboo. Its ability to digest cellulose is ascribed to the microbes in its gut.[56][57] ... The average giant panda eats as much as 9 to 14 kg (20 to 30 lb) of bamboo shoots a day to compensate for the limited energy content of its diet. Ingestion of such a large quantity of material is possible and necessary because of the rapid passage of large amounts of indigestible plant material through the short, straight digestive tract.[60][61] ...   Given this voluminous diet, the giant panda defecates up to 40 times a day.[62]
 
2022-07-01 12:39:02 AM  

HairBolus: morg: I imagine their digestive systems are specialized too.

Surprisingly not much.
They eat a huge amount, it passes rapidly through them, and they poop a lot. The fur on pandas' asses is white but is often stained brown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_panda#Diet
the giant panda still has the digestive system of a carnivore, as well as carnivore-specific genes,[55] and thus derives little energy and little protein from consumption of bamboo. Its ability to digest cellulose is ascribed to the microbes in its gut.[56][57] ... The average giant panda eats as much as 9 to 14 kg (20 to 30 lb) of bamboo shoots a day to compensate for the limited energy content of its diet. Ingestion of such a large quantity of material is possible and necessary because of the rapid passage of large amounts of indigestible plant material through the short, straight digestive tract.[60][61] ...   Given this voluminous diet, the giant panda defecates up to 40 times a day.[62]


The ability for life to find a way is either amazing or dumb.
 
2022-07-01 7:01:02 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size

He has the right to bear arms and he eats, shoots, and leaves. Feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?
 
2022-07-01 9:01:18 AM  
Valter:

The ability for life to find a way is either amazing or dumb.

Demonstrably, it is both.
 
2022-07-01 9:25:54 AM  
Hooray for Stephen J Gould and his extended radial sesimoid.
 
2022-07-01 6:53:08 PM  

dionysusaur: Hooray for Stephen J Gould and his extended radial sesimoid.


upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size


The second of his books collecting his essays published in 1980.  Well worth getting.
 
2022-07-01 11:21:31 PM  
Evolution be dumb.  Evolving extra parts to eat crap that even eaten in massive amounts barely feeds you. How 'bout evolving the ability to eat something more nutritious?
 
2022-07-01 11:48:38 PM  

Kris_Romm: Evolution be dumb.  Evolving extra parts to eat crap that even eaten in massive amounts barely feeds you. How 'bout evolving the ability to eat something more nutritious?


Evolution has no plan. It's not dumb, it's just a process of selection for the present that can't possibly plan for the future. That can create dead-end evolution, which typically results in extinction. Pandas are basically there. Something forced them to stop being bears and become bamboo eaters. Likely a combination of bigger better carnivores (tigers) or other bears pushing them into bad habitats where they had little better to eat, but the already evolved flexibility of their diet and digestive system let them adapt. That made them bad at everything else and ergo very vulnerable. They only exist because their territory was so terrible that they lived long enough for cuteness to become a factor humans care about.
 
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