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The giant panda, the only extant species in the genus and subfamily
Ailuropoda fovealis[clarification needed] skull
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Subfamily: Ailuropodinae
Genus: Ailuropoda
Milne-Edwards, 1870[1][2]
Type species
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
David, 1869[3]

A. baconi
A. melanoleuca
A. microta
A. wulingshanensis

Ailuropoda is the only extant genus in the ursid (bear) subfamily Ailuropodinae. It contains one living and three fossil species of panda.[4]

Only one species—Ailuropoda melanoleuca—currently exists; the other three species are prehistoric chronospecies. Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivoran, the giant panda has a diet that is primarily herbivorous, which consists almost exclusively of bamboo.

Giant pandas have descended from Ailurarctos, which lived during the late Miocene.[4]


Giant panda eye

From Greek αἴλουρος aílouros "cat" + ‒ποδός ‒podós "foot" (gen. sg.). Unlike most bears, giant pandas do not have round pupils, but instead have vertical slits, similar to those of cats. This has not only inspired the scientific name, but in Chinese the giant panda is called "large bear cat" (大熊猫, dà xióngmāo).


Other pandas[edit]

The red, or lesser, panda (Ailurus fulgens) was formerly considered closely related to the giant panda. It is no longer considered a bear, however, and is now classified as the sole living representative of a different carnivore family (Ailuridae).


  1. ^ Milne-Edwards, Alphonse (1870). "Note sur quelques mammifères du Thibet oriental". Annales des sciences naturelles, Zoologie. Ser. 5. 14 (10): 1.
  2. ^ Milne-Edwards, Alphonse (1870). "Note sur quelques Mammifères du Thibet oriental". Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences. 70: 341–342.
  3. ^ a b David, Armand (1869). "Voyage en Chine". Bulletin des Nouvelles Archives du Muséum. 5: 13. Ursus melanoleucus
  4. ^ a b Jin, Changzhu; Russell L. Ciochon; Wei Dong; Robert M. Hunt Jr.; Jinyi Liu; Marc Jaeger & Qizhi Zhu (June 19, 2007). "The first skull of the earliest giant panda". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (26): 10932–10937. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10410932J. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704198104. PMC 1904166. PMID 17578912.
  5. ^ Pei, Wen-chung (1962). "Guǎngxī liǔchéng jù yuán dòng jí qítā shāndòng de dì sì jì bǔrǔ dòngwù" 广西柳城巨猿洞及其他山洞的第四纪哺乳动物 [Quaternary Mammals from the Liucheng Gigantopithecus Cave and Other Caves of Kwangsi] (PDF). Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 6 (3): 211–218.
  6. ^ Pei, Wen-Chung (1963). "Quaternary Mammals From the Liucheng Gigantopithecus Cave and Other Caves of Kwangsi" (PDF). Scientia Sinica. 12 (2): 221–229. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-21. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  7. ^ Wang, Linghong; Lin, Yufen; Chan, Shaowu; Yuan, Jiarong (1982). "Húnán shěng xīběi bù xīn fāxiàn de bǔrǔ dòngwù huàshí jí qí yìyì" 湖南省西北部新发现的哺乳动物化石及其意义 [Mammalian Fossils Found in Northwest Part of Hunan Province and Their Significance] (PDF). Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 20 (4): 350–358.
  8. ^ Woodward, A. Smith (1915). "On the Skull of an extinct Mammal related to Æluropus from a Cave in the Ruby Mines at Mogok, Burma". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 85 (III): 425–428. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1915.tb07605.x.
  9. ^ Wan, Qiu-Hong; Wu, Hua; Fang, Sheng-Guo (2005). "A New Subspecies of Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) from Shaanxi, China". Journal of Mammalogy. 86 (2): 397–402. doi:10.1644/BRB-226.1. JSTOR 4094359.