Paleontologists have found the remains of the oldest in Spain, the giant panda


15/11/2012

Studying in the district, the Catalan Els-Ostalets de Perola extracted from 250 m layer of rocks fossils, scientists stumbled upon an unusual teeth and jaw, which belong to the mammal family bear. The researchers have named the find them. Kretzoiarctos beatrix, in honor of Miklos Krettsoi, Hungarian anthropologist and paleontologist who died in 2005

Paleontologists from Catalonia in Spain found the remains of a previously unknown species of ancient bears, which have been adapted to feeding vegetation, and are similar to today’s giant pandas, whose age - 11.6 million years - that allows us to consider them first herbivorous bears.

Juan Abella head of the team of scientists from the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Spain (Madrid), said - "we have described new species, is one of the earliest fossils of bears found in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula, and the first panda in the world."

Abella and colleagues organized the excavation of the Central Catalan Depression, which is located in the north-eastern part of Spain between the Coastal Cordillera and the foothills of the Pyrenees. There are sedimentary rocks formed in the middle Miocene, about twelve million years ago.

The new discovery is quite significant event in itself - scientists have not found before in Portugal and Spain, the ancient remains of bears that lived in the Miocene of the Iberian Peninsula.

Their surprise grew when the configuration was examined teeth and the shape of the jaw. It was found that the molars and canines were found bear adapted to eating solid food plant. Apparently, the diet of Spanish residents very much looks like the diet of today’s giant pandas.

The authors suggested that a new kind of belong to the family of pandas today. They analyzed this hypothesis by comparing the shape of the jaw with the other representatives of Bear Ursidae. Their group consisted of currently existing species, as well as long-extinct bears, including the last known ancestor of the giant pandas - Ailurarctos lufengensis, who dwelt in China eight million years ago.

The analysis showed that the find Abello was most similar to the anatomy of the current pandas, as well as their ancestors. What allowed to say that Kretzoiarctos beatrix belong to the genus Ailuropodinae, refer to it as existing today herbivorous bears.

The scientists conclude - "Given that Kretzoiarctos fossils have been found so far only in the peninsula Pyrenees, our work is the argument in the direction that the Bears were the first inhabitants of Western Europe. However, be aware that to take stock of some specific conclusions are very few fossils have been found the remains of giant pandas. "


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