By Keqiao Cheng, EDITOR
Chongqing – Giant Pandas are scarce in number. Some of them only live in China’s mountainous areas of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu. However, you may not know that there were lots of giant pandas living in Chongqing ten thousand years ago.
This Wednesday, 23rd January, Chongqing Natural History Museum announced that it would hold an exhibition under the theme of pandas, i.e. the Age of Pandas—the Past and Present of Giant Pandas.
The exhibition integrates the panda fossils in different evolutionary phases, living giant panda specimens, and ancient human fossil models. It has traced its evolution tracks, restored the family tree, and reviewed their accompanying with people for eight million years. Through the exhibition, visitors will have a view of the past and present of giant pandas.
The exhibition area is about 1,600 square meters, and the main exhibits are material objects. Thanks to the supporting high-tech exhibition form, visitors will enjoy immersive exhibition experience.
Meanwhile, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute has cooperated with Chongqing Natural History Museum in starting the digital restoration for panda fossils. The achievements are physical objects after 3D printing. The exhibits also include fossil skeletons restored by traditional techniques as contrast, highlighting the technological content of the exhibition.
The expert of Chongqing Natural History Museum introduced evidence of the co-existence of human beings and pandas. The relics were in historic sites of Lantian Man and Peking Man. And we have found skeletal fossils of giant pandas at hominid sites in Fengjie and Wushan of Chongqing.
“We have examined the panda specimens unearthed from many hominid sites. The result shows that many of them have hack marks made by ancient humans. At the time lacking physical resources, people would never take efforts to catch and kill any useless animal.” Then, the expert added, “The information shows that pandas were actually food for prehistoric humans.”
In today’s Chongqing city, we can never find any wild giant panda. But several millions of years ago, the region was home for this animal. At that time, groups of pandas lived everywhere on mountains of high altitudes.
According to the experts, scientists have even found panda skeletons of 6,000 years ago in Chongqing. “Now, we may rewrite the history for finding a new skull of giant panda recently. We are trying to determine its ages, and it should be hundreds of years ago. If the result proves the assumption true, we may assure pandas were living in Chongqing hundreds of years ago.”
Then, what caused giant pandas to leave Chongqing? The experts believed that it should be climate changes. Fargesia (arrow bamboo), the main food for pandas, got extinct for that reason, and then, pandas had to migrate to other regions.