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Giant PandasBiology and Conservation$
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Donald Lindburg

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238671

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238671.001.0001

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What Is a Giant Panda? A Query About Its Place Among The Ursidae

What Is a Giant Panda? A Query About Its Place Among The Ursidae

(p.38) 2 What Is a Giant Panda? A Query About Its Place Among The Ursidae
Giant Pandas

Hagey Lee R.

MacDonald Edith A.

University of California Press

This chapter investigates the profile of bile salts of the giant panda and related carnivores. The bile salts of carnivores are characterized by the presence of two taurine conjugated bile acids: taurochenodeoxycholic acid and taurocholic acid. Among the Ursidae, an additional taurine conjugated bile salt, tauroursodeoxycholic acid, is also present. The chapter then reports that the near absence of tauroursodeoxycholic acid in giant pandas' biliary bile acids suggests that, in terms of evolutionary age, the giant panda is older than any extant bear. After deconjugation, GC-MS analysis found no secondary bile acids, and the relative percentages of the two major bile acids, taurochenodeoxycholic acid and taurocholic acid, were nearly identical in bile and feces, and their 7-hydroxyl groups were still intact. A high proportion of taurochenodeoxycholic acid and the absence of tauroursodeoxycholic acid place the giant panda at the base of ursid phylogeny, making it the oldest extant bear.

Keywords:   Ursidae, bile salts, taurochenodeoxycholic acid, taurocholic acid, giant panda, 7-hydroxyl groups, tauroursodeoxycholic acid

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