I see from the BBC news site that panda diplomacy is on again – China has gifted two giant pandas to Taiwan.  I admit that giant pandas are cute, and have the interesting novelty of a extra digit (the “Panda’s Thumb”) that is derived from a modified sesamoid bone.  But, really, a carnivore that subsists on a diet that is 99% bamboo, that cannot digest cellulose, and which needs to consume 9-14 kg of bamboo shoots a day has been dealt a rather unfortunate hand!

On the other hand, this YouTube video never fails to make me laugh:

[video:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=FzRH3iTQPrk 435×350]

Other interesting facts:

  • the newborn giant panda cub weighs only 150g
  • there are two subspecies
  • giant pandas are unusual in having no medicinal use (in traditional medicine)
  • pandas lose interest in sex once in captivity – scientists have tried to arouse them with panda pornography