Pandas have been around for a very long time. In fact they have been around for 2 million years. Fossils of pandas have been found in Vietnam and China on 1869.
It is thought pandas were about a meter tall (3 feet) tall or about half the size of the modern day panda. Apart from the panda’s size, its fundamental anatomy hasn’t changed very much over the years.
Russell Ciochon, a University of Iowa anthropology professor says the panda’s ancestor, Ailuropoda microta, “was very similar to the living giant panda in both the makeup of its teeth and the shape and construction of its skull,” He continued “Pandas have been ‘uniquely pandas’ for many millions of years.”
Caves in Asia were found to have teeth from Ailuropoda baconi- an extinct panda from the ice age. These teeth were found approximately 750,000 years ago. Very little is known about the Ailuropoda baconi. The Ailuropoda baconi was preceded by an even more poorly-known Ailuropoda wulingshanensis. Before the Ailuropoda wulingshanensis was a smaller species – Ailuropoda microta . Before this time is even more difficult to know.
The earliest possible member of the giant panda’s ancestry is approximately 2 million year old bear Ailurarctos.
Panda cubs start to eat bamboo when they are a year old. The average life expectancy of wild giant pandas is 15-20 years. The captive ones can live up to 30 years. The current record age for a captive panda is 38 years.