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Ancient bones found in China are helping scientists better understand the evolution or evolution of modern pandas.

Panda is a type of animal called a bear that lives in the mountainous forests of southwest China. Panda’s main food is a plant called bamboo. Currently, experts estimate the number of wild pandas at less than 2,000.

Researchers recently reported that they found fossils, or mineralized bone, of a extinct called panda Iloraractus. The fossil was found near Zhaotong City in China’s northern Yunnan Province. It is about 6 million years old and is the ancestor of the modern panda.

The fossils have helped scientists understand the evolution of the bone structure that helps pandas eat a bamboo called pseudo thumb.

Fake thumb found Iloraractus Similar to the modern panda. But it is longer and has no files hook Live pandas usually eat bamboo.

A giant panda eats bamboo inside a shed at the Moscow Zoo on a hot summer day in the capital, Moscow, Russia, June 7, 2019 (REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo)

The fossil is the oldest known evidence of a false thumb, which is actually an enlarged carpal bone called the radial sesamoid. The wrist is a joint in the body that allows the hand to move.

Pseudo-thumbs are files Adaptation Five fingers or numbers are there to help catch objects.

The bear’s hand does not have an opposite thumb, which is a real number. Humans and other related animals, called primates, have opposite thumbs. They let the monkey hold the dan Agreed objects using fingers. Fake thumbs work the same way.

The hand bones of a modern giant panda are shown in his undated illustration. (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History/Handout via Reuters)

Researchers first discovered Iloraractus arm bone in 2010. Then they discovered dentures and a thumb in 2015, giving them a better understanding of the animal. To date, the oldest known evidence of this thumb-like structure ranges from 102,000 to 49,000 years ago. It came from the same type of panda that lives today.

Researchers say false thumbs were absent in other closely related bears that lived about 9 million years ago.

Xiao Ming Wang is the lead author of the paper published in the newspaper Scientific Report. He studies fossils at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

Wang said, “He used a fake thumb as a thumb raw Opposition thumbs up Understand, hold on, hold on Bamboo, like our thumb, is located only on the wrist and is much shorter than the human thumb.”

Modern panda pseudo-thumb is more useful than previous versions in Iloraractus.

Wang said the bent prosthetic thumb provided a better grip and was less protruding from the body. This makes it easier for pandas to walk. Scientists believe this is why modern pandas’ artificial thumbs have become shorter, not longer, Wang said.

The faulty thumb allows the panda to hold onto the bamboo to eat but don’t turn the food over as the thumb allows.

Tao Ding of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing is a paleontologist and co-author of the study. He said, “A panda’s prosthetic thumb is much less effective than a human thumb, but it is sufficient to give the giant panda the ability to grip and eat bamboo.”

I’m Gregory Statel.

Will Dunham reported the story to Reuters. Gregory Statel adapted it for VOA Learning English.


The words in this story

extinct not anymore

hook – n. Curved or curved device for gripping, gripping, or dragging objects

Adaptation – n. Changes in a plant or animal that make it better able to live in a certain place or situation

Agreed – Fifth. To manage or control (something) with your own hands

raw Very simple and basic

Understand, hold on, hold on – Fifth. To take (something) and hold it with the finger or hand

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