It is revered and protected as a symbol of China, but the panda was once killed and eaten by humans in some parts of the country, according to a Chinese scientist.
Wei Guangbiao says prehistoric man ate the bears in what is now Chongqing in south-west China. Mr Wei, head of the Institute of Three Gorges Palaeoanthropology at a Chongqing museum, said many excavated panda fossils "showed that pandas were once slashed to death by man".
"In primitive times, people wouldn't kill animals that were useless to them," he said, adding that therefore the pandas must have been used as food.
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