Panda fossils found in Europe do not determine animal's origin: expert

Updated 2017-11-09 09:33:21 Global Times

Panda tooth fossils have been discovered in Hungary, but a Chinese expert said it is too early to say the Panda originated from Europe.

An article published by the New Scientist claimed that the first ancestors of giant pandas probably lived in Europe as a paleoanthropologist at the University of Toronto in Canada has found a set of fossil teeth in the town of Rudabánya, Hungary.

The scientist also compared the shape, structure and teeth patterns with those of other bears and believes the teeth belong to an unknown, never-before-discovered species of panda.

In response to these opinions, Zhang Jinshuo, senior engineer from the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told The Beijing News that the cluster of fossils cannot determine the Panda's origin.

During evolution, the panda might have moved to many other parts of the world, thus finding panda fossils outside China is not surprising, Zhang added.

Discovering more fossils in the future will provide clearer evidence on panda evolution. "Perhaps more ancient panda fossils will be found in other places, but currently, it is too early to say the panda originated from Europe," said Zhang.

The expert also claimed that many species variations would have emerged during the animal's evolution, so it is hard to define the relationship between the fossils and the modern panda. The fossils may have derived from one of the panda variations which could be an extinct ancestor, Zhang said.

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