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Chinese scientist suspects that humans used to eat pandas


Giant Panda Tian Tian has a bamboo snack Jan. 20, 2011 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Washington and Beijing signed a new loan agreement, under which China is letting the giant pandas stay at the zoo for another five years.


Karen Bleier

Pandas: they're cute, cuddly, and have a remarkable ability to generate gobs of cash for the lucky zoo that manages to breed them. But do they taste good?

According to Chinese scientist Wei Guangbiao, ancient humans would answer "absolutely."

The Associated Press reports that Wei claims to have found a number of panda fossils "slashed" by prehistoric humans.

He theorizes that humans wouldn't have killed the animals if they didn't plan on eating them—which makes sense, as a panda is probably unlikely to attempt to eat your kids (unless they are made of bamboo). And they're cute, everyone is fully aware of that, which would likely include cavepeople.

Thus, the barbeque theory expounded by Wei, who is head of the Institute of Three Gorges Paleoanthropology in Chongqing.

This panda-devouring was presumably taking place before the advent of both the wok and sweet-and-sour preparations, which would have given an exciting new context to the fare served at Panda Express.

Read more from GlobalPost: TaoTao the panda finishes survival training; goes wild

One caveat: these ancient pandas, which lived from 10,000 to a million years ago in mountains near Chongqing, were not as big as the relatively robust specimens we know and love today. Perhaps they were more tender, too.

Want to eat panda in 2012? Too damn bad, they're endangered. You will go to jail. And children everywhere will hate you forever.

Although there is this website, which is almost certainly a relatively well-done joke, so you can just delete that flame e-mail you were working on, dude.

Not that pandas are always the placid vegetarians the panda-pandering media would like us to believe they are: in 2011, a camera captured footage of a wild panda eating the flesh of a gnu—although it wasn't clear if the panda had killed the herbivore or not, reports MSNBC.

In case you think that I'm maligning the poor monochrome dears unfairly, here's the footage. Damning.

Maybe ancient humans really were eating pandas in the name of self-defense. This changes everything.