Why the bear panda does not eat meat?

Although to have equal the digestive system to the one of carnivorous animals, the giant panda, differently of other bears, it has a vegetarian diet. In its habitat, the Chinese forests, it if feed of sprouts of 30 species of bamboos. As this plant is not a very nutritional food, the necessary panda to eat up to 40 kilos of the vegetable per day.

But 1% of its feeding can come of eggs, insects and small rodents. According to researchers of the University of Michigan, the giant panda can have “lost the taste” for the meat in the past. The animals have an inactive version of the responsible gene for receivers of the flavor umami, You 1r1.

Umami, “delicious or flavorful” Japanese word for is the fifth basic taste - the others are candy, sour, salty bitter taste and. Umami is present in the meats, seaweed and in used temperos in the eastern culinária.

The scientists had discovered that the gene that decodes the flavor umami stopped to function in the pandas has 4,2 million years. Research with fósseis indicates that the bears had left to eat meat and had passed if to feed behind of bamboo between seven and two million years.

They suspect that the animals had passed for ambient changes that finished with the availability of canine tooth, compelled that them to move of diet to survive. When she had the change, the obsolete genes You 1r1 had been e, without it, the pandas had not wanted more to eat same meat later that it becomes available of new.

But the researchers still do not know to explain accurately what it happened first: if the meat left the diet of the pandas or the taste for it is disappeared.

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