We once ate tiny pandas, says scientist in China

Scientist Wei Guangbiao believes our paleo ancestors munched on panda meat in southwest China. He is the head of the Institute of Three Gorges Paleoanthropology in Chongqing, China, and says excavated panda fossils "showed that pandas were once slashed to death by man" and presumably eaten for food, because our ancestors didn't kill things they didn't need for some survival purpose. The pandas were "much smaller then." More in this AP item quoting the Chongqing Morning Post.

(Image: Shutterstock)


  1. “because our ancestors didn’t kill things they didn’t need for some survival purpose”

    well, that sounds a bit utopian.

      1. Well, If we’re like cats, then it’s when we stopped being hungry enough to eat what we just killed.

      2. I would assume the ruling classes in classical antiquity certainly hunted for leisure or status; maybe even in prehistoric times. On the other hand, the idea of “sports” as an activity for larger parts of the population only dates back a few centuries.

        1. On the other hand, the idea of “sports” as an activity for larger parts of the population only dates back a few centuries.

          What do you think was going on in the Flavian Amphitheater?

          1. Ah, but that was called a “Circus”, wasn’t it? It wasn’t sport to partake in, but rather an entertainment, presented by some caste or class of professionals or specialists, and, therefore, not “sport” as in how I understood the previous speaker.

    1. I think it’s a correct statement, not because our ancestors were more moral or more nature-loving, but because hunting and killing things without technology is pretty hard, singular exceptions notwithstanding. They simply could not afford waste.

      1. We’re talking about pandas.  Proie facile. 
        Without technology you would have run up to the panda and poked it with a long stick. Neither was hard to find in a bamboo forest.

        But we had technology when we, including Denisovans, first got there.
        Also, hunting used to be easy living when nature was plentiful.  Outside of Africa, where animals had evolved alongside our ancestors, the largest prey and the easiest prey were hunted into (near) extinction first. 
        Everywhere on the planet, as soon as we could get there. 
        Just one successful mastodon hunt in fall would get your ancestors family group through the winter. 
        Paleolithic hunters lived longer and were healthier than neolithic farmers. 
        Farming is constant work.  Constant work is not healthy. 
        Newer research suggests that paleolithic hunter-gatherers seem to have had an average life expectancy of above 70 years. 
        In the seventeenth century the average European lived around 40 years. 
        Currently the worlds average life expectancy is still below 70 years. 

        Hunting was a life of Sundays.

    2. Why do you find this difficult to believe?  I have _never_ understood the attraction killing things seems to have for some people, and I grew up among the rednecks of western Nebraska.  Is it such a stretch to think that perhaps (even putting aside the fact that if they could barely survive, they probably had neither the time nor the energy to kill for sport) maybe ancient people gave a bit more thought to the things they did to other living creatures?

      1.  I find it difficult to believe that people have -ever- been any different. I find evidence of that impossible to locate. Have you got any? Sounds like you have hope. Hope is not proof. Life is proof.

  2. No wonder pandas can’t reproduce in captivity. Could you get it on under the watchful eye of a species that once thought of you as an appetizer?

  3. fta: Prehistoric man ate pandas in an area that is now part of the city of Chongqing in southwest China.  …many excavated panda fossils showed that pandas were once slashed to death by man.”
    “Pandas number about 1,600 in the wild, where they are critically
    endangered due to poaching and development. More than 300 live in
    captivity, mostly in China’s breeding programs.”

    Will they be safe once prehistoric man will go extinct?

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