Bear necessities: low metabolism lets pandas survive on bamboo

Senior author of the study Fuwen Wei, who is a professor of zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing states that they believed that the metabolism of the panda was low because of its main diet bamboo containing very low energy, however when compared to the three-toes sloth or the koala it exceptionally low.

For the longest of times, biologists have been wondering how these big creatures can live with eating exclusively bamboo when their stomachs are actually built to digest large amounts of meat daily.

Scientists last week provided an answer.

Indiana Giant pandas have veggies regardless of the fact that their personal our bodies are better fit to devour red meat.

The researchers found that the low rates of metabolism was correlated with a low level of thyroid hormones, which was associated with a genetic mutation in the hormone synthesis pathway of the thyroid that is unique in the panda, said researchers.

The critically endangered panda is the only one of the world’s eight bear species with a vegetarian diet. Bamboo is hard absorb and of course the pandas must consume persistence to really survive.

Until this point, how the panda can survive on such a poor diet was a mystery, but it was speculated that one essential component of their ability to do that is having such a low demand for energy. All these factors contribute to the saving up of energy, including their metabolic-managing thyroid hormones are also lower than those seen in other similarly sized mammals. With their low metabolism, the researchers said, the panda needs its coat of thick fur to retain body heat and keep warm.

They found that pandas are far less active than other bears, and expended just 38 per cent as much daily energy as the average among other land animals of their size.


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