Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Why do pandas have black and white fur ?


Posted on Tuesday, 7 March, 2017 | Comment icon 3 comments

What is the purpose of the panda's unusual black and white fur ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 jballeis
Scientists have come up with a new theory to explain the panda's distinctive monochrome coloration.
Mammals aren't particularly well known for their exotic fur coloration, mainly due to the fact that drab, earthly tones often help them to stay concealed either from predators or from prey.

Bears are a prime example, with most species exhibiting coloration to help them blend in to their surroundings. Polar bears are white for instance while grizzly bears have shaggy brown fur.

Pandas however are a different story altogether. Native to the remote mountainous regions of central China, these unusual creatures exhibit a distinct black and white fur coat which, in their dense forest home, might at first glance seem like an unusual choice for camouflage.

"Understanding why the giant panda has such striking coloration has been a long-standing problem in biology that has been difficult to tackle because virtually no other mammal has this appearance, making analogies difficult," said biologist Tim Caro.

To get to the bottom of this mystery, scientists at the University of California and California State University decided to divide up the panda's coloration in to independent areas and then compare them to similar areas of coloration found on 195 other species of mammals and bears.

Their findings suggested that the panda's black and white coat might actually serve two purposes.

Unlike other bears, pandas cannot hibernate, so their fur coat must help conceal them all year round - including when it snows in the winter.

Their black eyes and ears, in addition to serving as a warning to would-be predators, may also help individual pandas identify one another with each animal possessing a slightly different pattern.

"The breakthrough in the study was treating each part of the body as an independent area," said Caro. "It is always possible that a patch of fur has evolved for a different purpose than in other carnivores."

Source: Washington Post | Comments (3)

Tags: Panda

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by woopypooky on 7 March, 2017, 13:07
They evolved to black and white in order to look cute. They knew human had a thing for flurry and cuteness. Its for their species survival.
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer on 7 March, 2017, 16:44
Well we can add this discovery to when it was determined which color zebras were striped with. I can't remember as I didn't and still don't deem it important in the whole scheme of things.
Comment icon #3 Posted by taniwha on 8 March, 2017, 11:21
What's black and white, and hides in the shadows?


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Neil Armstrong's bag could fetch up to $4M
5-23-2017
A bag used by the late astronaut to collect samples during the Apollo 11 mission is to be sold at auction.
What caused the Hindenburg to catch fire ?
5-23-2017
80 years on from the disaster, the exact cause of the inferno that destroyed the airship remains unclear.
Europe, not Africa, was birthplace of mankind
5-23-2017
A remarkable new palaeontological discovery in Europe could rewrite the history of human evolution.
UFO dossier may be released after UK election
5-22-2017
A selection of previously withheld documents about UFOs could be seeing a release in the near future.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Falcon vs car
Posted 5-23-2017 | 5 comments
Can the fastest bird of prey in level flight manage to fly faster than a speeding car ?
 
Ants are better at growing food than we are
Posted 5-21-2017 | 1 comment
They may be small, but ants have been farming their own food for a lot longer than humans have.
 
Neil deGrasse Tyson on Europa
Posted 5-20-2017 | 0 comments
The popular astrophysicist talks about finding life beneath the surface of Europa.
 
 View: More videos
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ