JUL 10, 2015 09:30 AM PDT

Have You Ever Wondered Why Giant Pandas Can Survive on Just Bamboo?

Every time you see a giant panda, it seems like it's either sleeping or it has a stick of bamboo in its hands that it's in the middle of devouring. It's no secret that giant pandas like bamboo; in fact, it's their main dish.

But why do they have a thing for bamboo? Scientists have long scratched their heads at why giant pandas have a liking for the low-nutrient plant, but it may finally make sense in a new research study.

Here are some giant pandas snacking on bamboo.

Since bamboo isn't very nutrient-rich, it means that a giant panda doesn't get a lot of energy from the meal. As new research suggests, this is perfectly fine for a giant panda, because they're incredibly lazy animals that sleep most of the day and hardly exert any energy; since they hardly do anything, additional energy from other food sources isn't particularly necessary.

So just how lazy are they?

As a part of a science experiment, scientists attached GPS devices to the animals to track their movements throughout the day and examined the chemical makeup of the animals' feces to determine how much energy they were actually exerting in a day.

It was found that the animals only exerted about 38% of the energy that other animals in the giant panda's size group normally would, so they're almost two-thirds lazier than animals of comparable size.

"Pandas save a lot of energy by being frugal with the energy they spend on physical activity," said professor John Speakman from the University of Aberdeen and Chinese Academy of Sciences. "However, it is not only their low activity that contributes to their low metabolism; the metabolic rate of an active panda is still lower than a completely stationary human."

The giant panda's lazy and slow energy efficient lifestyle combined with tiny energy efficient organs and a low metabolism that's even lower than the metabolism of a completely at-rest human, means that a giant panda is a very energy efficient animal capable of surviving on bamboo.

Giant pandas are typically found in China, where they are known as an endangered species. There are anywhere from 1,000-3,000 giant pandas known to exist in the wild.

Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 07, 2018
Videos
JUL 07, 2018
Can Sending Plants to Space Reveal a Cancer Treatment?
When plants are grown in a totally different environment, it may stimulate new effects....
JUL 10, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUL 10, 2018
Newly Found Enzyme can Help Turn Plant Waste to Plastic
Scientists discovered an enzyme that can harvest a versatile molecule from trash....
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
The Transition to Multicellular Life May Have Been Simple
It may have been relatively easy for complex organisms to form from one-celled microbes, researchers suggest....
AUG 15, 2018
Neuroscience
AUG 15, 2018
Bees Know What Zero Means
There is much concern over the dwindling population of honey bees. They are needed for pollination and for ecosystems to stay in balance, but soon research...
SEP 02, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 02, 2018
Ever Wonder How Whales Became So Large?
Among the most massive living animals on Earth today are blue whales, but have you ever stopped to think about how they became so large in the first place?...
SEP 05, 2018
Earth & The Environment
SEP 05, 2018
Climate change increases prevalence of parasites among livestock
A warming climate will ultimately favor some species over others. One such species is a parasite called the liver fluke, which infects livestock with a dis...
Loading Comments...