Thursday, June 18, 2020

Duplicitous Red Pandas

The red panda turns out to be a mammal of mystery.  A genetic study by Hu et al. suggests that there are not one, but, in fact, two two distinct species:  the Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani).  Perhaps more surprising, red pandas seem not to be pandas at all, but, rather, a phylogenetic sister group to skunks, raccoons, and weasels.  As it is wont to do, science eventually ferrets out the truth.

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