Author: No authors were given: Made by Lazywebsite
Chapter 4: Evolution, Biological Communities, and Species Interactions
Video Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5lloTL89s
Content of the Article: http://darwinevolved.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/panda-evolution-evolution-of-pandas/
What Was The Article About?
Pandas, a part of the oldest family of the most primitive lineage of bears, have adapted to the widespread plant resources of southern Asia through the long process of evolution, and lost many of the carnivorous and omnivorous traits of their ancestors and have developed specialized adaptations for feeding on plants. The constant availability of bamboo caused the pandas to become increasingly dependent on the plant as a main food source and encouraged the pandas to evolve to only eating bamboo (and a small variety of other plant species). Bamboo was abundant in areas where panda populations were abundant and once food became scarce in one area, the pandas would move to another area where food was plentiful. However, as humans increasingly dominated the area, the pandas were forced to retreat to isolated mountain regions. Now as bamboo forests are being cut down, the panda species may become extinct due to their inability to eat plants outside of their diet (bamboo and a few other plants).
The problem in the article is that the pandas have evolved into only being able to eat bamboo and a few other specific plants which limits their diet and may cause their extinction if bamboo or any of the plants they eat become scarce or completely die off. In other words, since pandas are increasingly dependent on bamboo as a main food source, the disappearance of bamboo forests may cause the extinction of the species. The players are the pandas themselves because they began to only (mainly) eat bamboo since it was a constant and reliable source of food through changes in climate and in season, during the time the early pandas existed. The pandas are the ones being affected because they are endangering the lives of the panda species by not having a varied diet. The solutions to this problem are that the pandas should be gradually exposed to a variety of plant species so they can once again evolve into being more versatile. I feel that this article made me realize that although evolution may save lives, it can also endanger them to the point of extinction. It was very informative and written in a way that was detailed, making me find that evolution needs to be thought out (the pandas should have never stopped eating a wide diet). The article relates to AP Environmental Science because in chapter 4, Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection were explained to happen gradually as genetic traits needed for survival were changed over generations in order to allow individuals to compete for scarce resources. In chapter 4, evolution, pandas feeding exclusively on bamboo and resource partitioning was discussed, which relates back to the article when the panda evolution took place due to resource partitioning and for bamboo availability. I have learned that every organism should have some variety in their diet or the organism might die if the food source becomes scarce or extinct- although a food source may be abundant during a certain period of time, in a few decades or centuries, the food source may be non-existent.