New Fossil Sheds Light on Oldest Known Ancestor of Giant Panda
In May, Dr Juan Abella and colleagues from the Spainâ€™s National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Catalan Institute of Paleontology announced the discovery of a new fossil species of bear that roamed what is now Spain in the Miocene period. On the basis of fossil teeth found at the Nombrevilla 2 site in the province of Zaragoza, the species was assigned to the genus Agriarctos and named A. beatrix.
In a new study, published online in the journal PloS ONE, Dr Abellaâ€™s team describes a newly found jaw fossil from the VallÃ¨s-PenedÃ¨s Basin and suggests that the species is distinct enough as to be attributed to a different genus. â€œThe new genus we describe in this paper is not only the first bear recorded in the Iberian Peninsula, but also the first of the giant pandaâ€™s lineage,â€ Dr Abella said.