TIL the giant #panda's ancestors switched to bamboo-only diets more than two million years ago:
By comparison, chimpanzees’ and bonobos’ most recent common ancestor (#MRCA) lived 1.6mya:
And humans’, chimps’, and bonobos’ MRCA lived 6mya.
Pandas been eating only bamboo for a long time!
'While "original divergence" between [human and chimp] populations may have occurred as early as 13 million years ago, hybridization may have been ongoing until as recently as 4 million years ago.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee%E2%80%93human_last_common_ancestor
That is an astonishingly wide range of hybridization! Oh, I'm so jealous of my great-grandkids who will hopefully know so much more details about that evolutionary history!
One of my favorite books is Richard #Dawkins' *Ancestor's Tale* (& isn't about atheism).
“no matter the languages we speak or the colour of our skin, we [all] share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who laboured to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu.”
The money quote from Rhode, Olsen, and Chang (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature02842)!
“a dietary switch to bamboo ~3 million years ago when pygmy pandas emerged. Fossil evidence indicates that the earliest (primal) pandas were omnivores or carnivores, living in swamp habitats lacking bamboo, whereas pygmy pandas mainly ate bamboo, as indicated by their specialized cranial and dental adaptations. This hypothesis is supported at the molecular level by the concurrent pseudogenization of the umami taste gene Tas1r1 associated with the pandas’ decreased reliance on meat.” —Zhao et al.
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