Say it ain't so! Scientists think pandas may be allergic to bamboo. That's like telling a human they can't have chocolate or that desserts are a no-no. It's not only their favorite food, but giant pandas eat a lot of bamboo! So maybe it is like saying to a human that both chocolate AND bread are off the menu.
I feel ya, Mr. Panda!
After 14 hours of eating bamboo, scientists found only 17% of the green stuff was digested which might explain why they are eating for 14 hours. The Chinese scientists discovered that, unlike most herbivores, a panda’s gut bacteria has not evolved to match its diet and remains more akin to its omnivorous bear cousins.
Studies of both wild and captive panda bears show neither has plant-degrading bacteria like Ruminococcaceae and Bacteroides in their guts.
Researchers say the vegan diet may actually put the panda in an evolutionary dilemma if their bodies don't eventually adapt. Of course, China’s most famous animal evolved from a species that ate both meat and plants and began to consume bamboo almost exclusively 2 million years ago. So evolutionarily speaking, maybe they are not in that much trouble.