Where Were Pandas ?


Past distribution


Nowadays, the large panda lives just in China in the wild, in 6 large chain of mountains. Nonetheless, its prehistoric as well as historical arrays were much larger than today.

As outlined in the chapter “Ancestors and also History”, the earliest well-known forefather of the huge panda is Ailurarctos which lived regarding 8 million years ago (late Miocene). A branch of Ailurarctos developed right into Ailuropoda microta, a smaller sized type of the contemporary large panda, however somewhat larger than Ailuractos, which occupied large locations in southwest, south, main as well as northwest China.

Fossils of Ailuropoda microta have been discovered in 7 Chinese districts.

Ailuropoda microta
Ailuropoda microta

Between Pleistocene (600,000 to 700,000 years ago), Ailuropoda microta slowly became vanished in the struggle for survival and also was replaced at the end of the Lower Pleistocene by a larger gigantic panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca baconi. A. m. baconi is one of the most current ancestor of the large panda.

Fossils of Ailuropoda melanoleuca baconi have been discovered in 18 districts and also even in Vietnam, Thailand and also Myanmar (ex-Burma).

The gradual rise of the Tibetan Plateau as well as the towering climate it has actually produced have actually been an all-natural barrier versus the spread of the huge panda’s circulation. Nonetheless, the Tibetan Plateau has also given a particular weather stability during durations of winter, especially in central as well as western China, therefore offering a haven of greenery for the huge panda.

In the last 5,000 years, according to historical works as well as archives, the giant panda was possibly found in the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, Hunan, Hubei, Shanxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Henan, Guangdong, as well as in the present-day municipality of Chongqing.

Before the 1950s, the 6 hills presently occupied by the giant panda were interconnected, yet human advancement has since fragmented its environment. Since the 1950s, human demographics, logging, mining activities, roadway as well as train construction, and residential development have actually destroyed and broken up the panda’s habitat.


Evolution of the giant panda