The astounding study, reported by online US diary mBio, involved 45 pandas throughout the span of a year and found that the creatures seemed to have a digestive framework “altogether separated from other herbivores”.
Rather, the pandas still held the gut microorganisms of the omnivorous bears they advanced from, the report’s rundown said.
“Unlike other herbivores that have successfully evolved anatomically specialized digestive systems to efficiently deconstruct fibrous plant matter, the giant panda still retains a gastrointestinal tract typical of carnivores”.
This, the report said, “may adversely influence the co-evolutionary fitness of this herbivore”.
Goliath pandas spend up to 14 hours a day eating 12.5 kilograms (27.5 pounds) of bamboo, yet can process just around 17 percent of what they devour.
“This result is unexpected and quite interesting, because it implies the giant panda’s gut microbiota may not have well adapted to its unique diet, and places pandas at an evolutionary dilemma,” said study co-author Xiaoyan Pang from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
Pandas, whose common living space lies in rocky southwestern China, have a famously low regenerative rate and are underweight from components, for example, environment misfortune.
China has around 1,600 pandas living in the wild and another 300 held in captivity.