Six million years old: Europe’s last panda discovered

Six million years old: Europe's last panda discovered

Panda bears are associated with China in many minds. However, researchers have now discovered an older European species in a museum.

When you think of panda bears, you usually think of China as well. No wonder, all the pandas in zoos around the world are from the Middle Kingdom. Several million years ago, pandas were also found in Europe. In a Bulgarian museum, researchers identified a species of panda that migrated through the wetlands of present-day Europe six million years ago.

In the late 1970s, a fossilized upper jaw and a canine tooth of an unknown species of panda were found in Bulgarian coal deposits. They have since been stored at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia, Bulgaria – for more than four decades. “He [die Überreste des Pandas, Anm. d. Red.] was only illegally hand-engraved,” Nikolai Spasov, a professor at the museum, told US broadcaster CNN. He is the author of a new studyIn which he examined fossilized teeth.

According to a statement from the museum, the species identified is said to be the last species of panda to live in Europe. After identification, it was named Agriarchtos Nikolovi – named after Ivan Nikolov, who worked as a longtime paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia and once cataloged the remains of a panda.

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