A panda is considered one of nature’s cutest creatures unless it’s the ominous panda from the dairy commercials or the one from South Park, the popular TV shows. When it comes to these majestic plus-sized stuffed animals, one thing is for certain – everyone’s able to recognize it, no matter the distance. The panda’s distinctive trait (it’s black and white fur) has always been the subject among scientists since its function remained unknown.
For some time now, biologists have been trying to unlock the secrets behind the panda’s black and white fur. Although there have been many theories surrounding the mammal’s fur, none of the could account for the fact that the panda is the only bear species who has this unique feature.
A recent project focused on explaining the panda’s strange fur has been successful in explaining its function. According to the team of scientists involved in this project, a panda bear uses its unique black and white fur for camouflage and to communicate with another member of its species.
It’s a well-established fact that unlike their bear cousins, panda bears do not hibernate during the winter mostly due to the fact that they don’t manage to accumulate enough fat on their body since their diet is based on bamboo.
Now, by taking this fact into account and adding some more environmental and regional variables, the scientists involved in the project have arrived at the conclusion that the panda bear’s distinctive black and white fur can only serve two purposes: camouflage and communication.
For instance, during the winter, the panda can use its white patches in order to confuse and to elude its predator. Subsequently, it can use its black part of its fur to make itself invisible in the shade during the summer.
As for the second function served by the panda’s fur, the scientists have noted that these mammals will use their black ears in order to discourage predators. Furthermore, it would seem that the black patches of fur around their eyes are used to identify themselves to the community or to intimidate a possible love rival.
The biologists who studied the panda’s fur declared that in order to unlock its secrets, they had to study the fur of over 190 land predators, which included over 39 bear subspecies. They’ve also added that the panda’s unique fur pattern makes it hard for comparison.
Image source: Wikipedia