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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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A Paleontologist’s Perspective on the Origin and Relationships of the Giant Panda

A Paleontologist’s Perspective on the Origin and Relationships of the Giant Panda

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 A Paleontologist’s Perspective on the Origin and Relationships of the Giant Panda
Source:
Giant Pandas
Author(s):

Hunt Robert M.

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520238671.003.0005

This chapter describes a revised concept of the bear family, Ursidae, which has emerged from the discovery of fossils over the past half-century, and places the giant panda within that context. The origin of the giant panda is evaluated. The Lufeng teeth not only link the fossil species with the living giant panda, but clearly show its derivation from the ursine bears, and most probably from a species of Miocene Ursavus at some time prior to 7 Ma. The origin of the giant panda lies within the subfamily Ursinae, one of the three great evolutionary radiations of the family Ursidae. Ursine bears arise from species of small amphicynodont ursids, who also gave rise to the larger digitigrade hemicyonines, an important group of Miocene predators on the northern continents.

Keywords:   Lufeng, teeth, Ursidae, Ursavus, fossils, paleontologist

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