Temporal range: Pliocene – Present
|Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)|
Only one species—Ailuropoda melanoleuca—currently exists; the other four species are prehistoric chronospecies. Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivoran, the giant panda has a diet that is primarily herbivorous, which consists almost exclusively of bamboo.
Giant pandas have descended from Ailurarctos, which lived during the late Miocene.
In 2011 fossil teeth from over 11 mya found in the Iberian peninsula were identified as belonging to a previously unidentified species in the Ailuropodinae subfamily This species was named Agriarctos beatrix (now Kretzoiarctos).
Formerly, the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) was considered closely related to giant pandas. It is no longer considered a bear, however, and is now classified as the sole living representative of a different carnivore family (Ailuridae).
- †Ailuropoda baconi (Woodward 1915)
- Ailuropoda melanoleuca (David, 1869) (Giant panda)
- †Ailuropoda microta (Pei, 1962) (Pygmy giant panda)
- †Ailuropoda minor (Pei, 1962) (Dwarf panda)
- †Ailuropoda wulingshanensis (Wang et al., 1982)