JUL 10, 2015 9:30 AM PDT

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

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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 11, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Some Plants May Have Become Carnivorous as a Defense Mechanism
JUL 11, 2022
Some Plants May Have Become Carnivorous as a Defense Mechanism
Carnivorous plants are amazing, and researchers have spent a long time learning about their impressive abilities. Now sc ...
JUL 14, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
The Oldest Traces of Fire Discovered using AI
JUL 14, 2022
The Oldest Traces of Fire Discovered using AI
Scientists have discovered evidence of fire dating back at least 800,000 years. Fire has been essential to human evoluti ...
JUL 14, 2022
Plants & Animals
Using Worms to Study Precision Medicine
JUL 14, 2022
Using Worms to Study Precision Medicine
Personalized medicine refers to making decisions about treatment that are optimized to a specific individual, often as a ...
JUL 26, 2022
Neuroscience
Ant Colonies and Neural Networks Make Decisions in Similar Ways
JUL 26, 2022
Ant Colonies and Neural Networks Make Decisions in Similar Ways
Ant colonies make decisions similarly to neural networks in the brain. The corresponding study was published in PNAS.&nb ...
JUL 28, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Meet Nun Cho Ga, The Latest Frozen Mammoth Discovered in Canada!
JUL 28, 2022
Meet Nun Cho Ga, The Latest Frozen Mammoth Discovered in Canada!
Gold miners working in the freezing Klondike gold mines in Canada's Yukon territory have made a discovery while excavati ...
AUG 04, 2022
Cancer
Fiber in Green Bananas Protects from Some Cancers
AUG 04, 2022
Fiber in Green Bananas Protects from Some Cancers
Starch, a natural, sugar-containing component in many green plants, is present in high concentrations in foods such as p ...
Loading Comments...