Side-by-side: A stark contrast between China’s two panda sub-species

Scientists have recently found that there are in fact two different types of pandas living in today’s China, the giant panda from southwest China’s Sichuan and the giant panda from northwest China’s Shaanxi.

Giant panda Qizi from Qinling, Shaanxi province. (Photo/Xinhua)

A giant panda from Sichuan province (Photo/Xinhua)

The pandas from Sichuan have a black chest and mostly white belly, looking more like a bear in appearance.

In comparison, the subspecies from the Qinling mountain range of Shaanxi have smaller skulls and larger teeth, taking on cat-like features, with a dark brown chest.

Although the two sub-species are related, they have not interacted with each other for over 12,000 years, which has resulted in the formation of different genetic groups for these two types of pandas. 

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