Giant pandas suffer from indigestion, so this much bamboo eatingÂ
Giant pandas spend more than half of the day chewing nothing else but bamboos. This has always been a mystery as to why giant pandas actually spend as many as 14 hours or more a day chewing nothing else but bamboos.
Now researchers have come out with the right answer. Scientists have found that giant pandas actually cannot digest most of the bamboos they eat. So in order to get enough energy to sustain themselves they continue to eat more and more of the same stuff.
Researchers have said that a small fraction of bamboo that giant pandas eat is digestible. They claim that they can only digest 17 percent of the total bamboo intake on a normal day. Scientists claim that the giant pandasâ€™ gut bacteria are not the type for efficiently breaking down bamboo. On the contrary they believe that these giant pandas are ideally meat eaters.
Researchers are excited about the findings as it may also have the answer of the question as to why giant pandas are becoming almost extinct. Lead author of the study Zhihe Zhang who is the director of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China says that the animal comes with a carnivore-like gut. â€œUnlike other plant-eating animals that have successfully evolved, anatomically specialised digestive systems to efficiently deconstruct fibrous plant matter, the giant panda still retains a gastrointestinal tract typical of carnivoresâ€¦The animals also do not have the genes for plant-digesting enzymes in their own genome. This combined scenario may have increased their risk for extinctionâ€, says Zhang.
Other researchers too believe that this study may prove to be a game changer and help save the specie. Doctor Xiaoyan Pang, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who was also part of the study says, â€œThis result is unexpected and quite interesting, because it implies the giant panda’s gut microbiota may not have well adapted to its unique diet, and places pandas at an evolutionary dilemmaâ€.