Bamboo-Munching Pandas Also Have a Sweet Tooth

Bamboo-Munching Pandas Also Have a Sweet ToothStudies of panda behavior and genetics suggest that pandas not only have taste receptors for sweet foods, but also show a strong preference for natural sweeteners such as fructose and sucrose. "Pandas love sugar,"study leader Danielle Reed, a behavioral geneticist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, said in a statement. "Our results can explain why Bao Bao, the 6-month-old giant-panda cub at theNational Zoo in Washington, D.C., is apparently relishing sweet potato as a first food during weaning." [Baby Panda Pics: See a Cub Growing Up] Giant pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo, a plant that contains very little sugar and doesn't taste sweet to humans.

March 27, 2014 1:57 pm

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