Have you ever wondered why giant pandas are black and white? Although contrasting stripes and spots are common across the animal kingdom, pandas are rather unique. The latest study research and explained what reasons hides behind the famous black and white pattern.
Animal coloration is a very important feature. Their coloration has a variety of roles from mate-attracting to protection from enemies. Previous years, there were various assumptions on pandas color. Researchers were confused why such a big animal, that can weigh up to 160 kilograms would have striking color designs and make itself less capable of blending with the environment. Scientists tried to find the answer in comparison with zebra stripes, but none of them don’t fit with panda. Some researchers tried to explain it as a regulator of temperature due to frequent changing between cold and warm woods.
When biologists examine animal’s coloration they began from something that is known as an ecological niche. This basically means the comparison of specific species with its neighborhood species. Such comparisons can explain the distinctive look of an animal. Although, it can be a very helpful method, in this study scientists have a slightly different approach. Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and California State University, Long Beach, examined each body part of the panda as an independent area in order to get a wider picture. According to them, this method was a breakthrough in the study.
They spent hundreds of hours on comparing distinct areas of a panda with the colourations of more than 200 species of bear and other carnivores with taking in concern their habitations. Researchers have come to the conclusion that habitation played a key role in forming such a color pattern. During the winter and snow time, white color helps pandas to blend in the environment and protect from jackals. On the other side, black hands and legs help them in a summer forest where they can peacefully eat bamboo shoots. So, basically, a white-black design is the compromise between two distinctive environments.
Maybe pandas are black and white, but not every solution. So far this is the best explanation, although scientists leave room for further discussion.