STATES CHRONICLE – Researchers provide an explanation regarding why pandas have black and white patches. Pandas are known everywhere for their unique pattern, being one of the most fascinating creatures existing. Their limited diet is based only on bamboo consumption and their well-known reluctance to breed determined them to be one of the species on the verge of extinction.
This species left the endangered species list last year. Nevertheless, despite the scientific oversight which comes with ecological vulnerability, researchers still try to reveal the mystery behind their pattern. Other species of bears have only one color. Scientists want to determine why pandas are so different. Researchers from the California State University, University of California and Davis believe that they might have an answer.
Tim Caro, the lead author of the study and a professor in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, claimed that it was difficult for them to determine why the panda bear has this pattern since no other mammals have it. This made it difficult for them to infer data by analogy. They reached a result after they had analyzed every part of a panda’s body as an independent area.
Scientists have found out that the black patches of a panda are not always black for the same reason. To reveal what part of the fur designated what, scientists compared a panda’s pattern to the pattern of other 195 carnivore species and 39 bear subspecies which were related to the Panda. Based on the new study recently published in the Behavioral Ecology journal, scientists unveiled that the color of the fur did not depend on temperature regulation or reducing eye glare.
Nevertheless, researchers discovered that the black and white patches could be related to two primary functions. One of them is communication, and the other is crypsis or camouflage. Researchers inferred that pandas are different from other bears when it comes to hibernation. Panda bears are active all the time, without hibernating.
Keeping in mind that bamboo is found in small amounts and only in particular areas, panda bears need to be able to search for food in warm and dense rainforests or even in snowy, mountainous regions. The white patches help the bear to camouflage in snowy areas, while the black patches helped the animal hide in rainforests.
Image source: flickr