Giant Pandas as a Model Species for Extinct Hominin Genus Paranthropus
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has cranial morphology similar to the extinct hominin genus Paranthropus which makes it an interesting model species for comparing diet. Both species have wide skulls with flared zygomatic arches as well as large, moralized dentition which are thought to be adaptions for chewing. To gain insight into possible food sources of Paranthropus, the giant panda s diet of bamboo is investigated. Mechanical properties data are gathered from young and adult bamboo shoots using a universal testing machine which provides data on the toughness, hardness, elastic modulus of bamboo stems and leaves. Knowing the properties of bamboo will help draw a parallel between giant panda and Paranthropus diets. As the food properties of bamboo are still largely unknown, it is useful to collect mechanical properties data on bamboo to further our understanding of what types of food can lead to the development of the morphology found in both giant pandas and Paranthropus.