Pandas

Friday, January 14, 2005

Pandas

Pandas - Is it a bear or a raccoon? Scientists have debated this for more than a century. Many were unsure whether giant pandas belonged to the bear family, the raccoon family, or simply a separate family of their own. This is because the giant panda and its cousin (the lesser, or red, panda), share many characteristics with both bears and raccoons. Recent DNA studies indicate that giant pandas are more closely related to bears, and red pandas are more closely related to raccoons. Therefore, giant pandas are categorized in the bear family, while red pandas are categorized in the raccoon family.