Fossils unearthed from a cave in the south of China have revealed that the panda is also a "living fossil." To put it another way, the fossil record shows that these creatures have remained as pandas since their first appearance millions of years ago.
Details of the discovery were published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) by the American National Academy of Sciences.[i] The research team included the Iowa University anthropologist Russell Ciochon and the researchers Changzhu Jin and Jinyi Liu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
According to the PNAS paper, the fossil panda, given the scientific name Ailuropoda microta, was smaller than the giant pandas living in mountainous regions of China today. The giant panda measures up to 1.5 meters, while the fossil panda, known as the dwarf panda measures less than 1 meter. This shows that pandas of different sizes have existed, in the same way that there are different sized horses.
However, the fossil discovery in question is of crucial importance in terms of the origins of the panda, since it is the oldest found to date. In addition, the fact that the remains of the A. microta skull have been largely preserved has enabled researchers to provide a comprehensive description of the animal. Investigations revealed that these oldest panda remains have no characteristics beyond the standard panda anatomy. The age of the remains and their relatively well preserved state have therefore provided information confirming the panda"s previously attested[ii] status as a living fossil.
A report prepared by the Iowa University News Center and published on Eurekalert, the news organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, contained statements showing that the panda is indeed a living fossil:
"The new find, made about 18 months ago in a south China karst (limestone) cave by Chinese researchers and co-authors Changzhu Jin and Jinyi Liu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shows that the basic anatomy of the giant panda has remained largely unchanged for millions of years."[iii]
Evolutionist disappointment: the oldest known panda was also herbivorous
The A. microta remains have dealt a severe blow to the theory of evolution by revealing how the animal has remained unchanged for millions of years. Another significant effect of the findings in terms of confounding evolutionist hypotheses concerns the panda"s feeding habits.
According to the evolutionist scenario, herbivorous pandas that feed on bamboo stalks are assumed to have evolved from carnivorous forebears. The reason for this is the panda"s wide jaws, teeth and powerful claws. Evolutionists claim that the supposed ancestors of the panda used these features against other animals. The fact is, however, that the panda"s only enemy is man. They have no enemies in the animal kingdom and the reason for their powerful teeth and jaws is to enable them to tear off and chew bamboo stalks with ease. Their strong claws are for climbing up bamboo trunks. There is no evidence that pandas, which generally feed on bamboo, and fruit and plants from time to time, evolved from carnivorous forebears. This claim is based on the prejudiced and mistaken idea that, according to the theory of evolution, all living things are descended from a common ancestor, for which reason the diversity among living things must have evolved subsequently.
The latest A. microta discovery has made this evolutionist claim even more groundless than ever. Because the features of the A. microta skull and teeth reveal that like its present-day counterparts, the oldest known pandas were herbivorous. Ciochon says this on the subject:
"Pandas are very unique bears – the only bear species that is known to exist on a wholly vegetarian diet … Our new discovery shows the great time depth of this unique bamboo-eating specialization in pandas. Thus pandas have been "uniquely pandas" for many millions of years."[iv]
As we have seen, the supposed evolution of bamboo-eating is based solely on a deception, and the fact that pandas" mode of feeding has never changed has been definitively established.
The panda"s unique habit of feeding on bamboo reveals a complete lack of evolution, rather than evolution as suggested in this article. It is not only the animal"s mode of feeding but also its general anatomy that remained unchanged. The objective approach to this would be to accept that pandas have always been pandas, ever since the moment they first appeared, in other words that they were created
[i] Changzhu Jin, Russell L. Ciochon, Wei Dong, Robert M. Hunt, Jr, Jinyi Liu, Marc Jaeger, and Qizhi Zhu, "The first skull of the earliest giant panda," PNAS, June 26, 2007, Vol. 104, no. 26 pp.10932-10937
[ii] Panda Granny, 12 Haziran 2007, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/btn/stories/s1947589.htm
[iii] UI anthropologist, "Colleagues discover remains of earliest giant panda," July 18, 2007, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-06/uoi-uac061507.php
[iv] UI anthropologist, "Colleagues discover remains of earliest giant panda," July 18, 2007, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-06/uoi-uac061507.php