Giant pandas rely heavily on the bamboo diet but the investigation of the panda poop show that the animals are only able to digest about 17% of their food intake. Scientists found that the Gut bacteria in the panda have not evolved to completely digest the food that the animals rely heavily on.
Scientists analyzed 121 fecal samples from the giant pandas ranging in different ages. The studies indicate that the pandas do not have the gut bacteria responsible for digestion of plant based diets. The results have left the researchers perplexed regarding the evolution factors, which have failed to equip the pandas with the necessary arsenal to survive.
The scientists also found that the seasonal variations also have an impact over the gut bacteria of the animals. The pandas show increased level of bacteria in the gut in seasons when the bamboo is readily available, while it significantly falls in seasons where it does not have a lot of food available.
Pandas spend about 14 hours each day eating bamboo but are able to digest only 17% of their food, creating a diet risk for the animals.
Pandas have exclusively evolved from the omnivorous animals that relied on both plant as well as protein based diets. But the pandas rely completely on the plant based diets.
Researchers are unable to understand the reason for the animal relying solely on the plant based diets and believe that a complete diet would be able to meet the nutrition requirements of the animal better.