Giant pandas are a favorite of zoo-goers and seekers of general cuteness on the Internet, but for biologists looking at dietary habits, they represent a great mystery.
Pandas' diet is almost exclusively bamboo. But in theory, they should not be able to digest cellulose and hemicellulose, the main components of bamboo. These organic compounds are used in the metabolism of carbohydrates, which give pandas their basic energy, said Fuwen Wei, deputy director of the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows what lies near the sword of the constellation Orion - an active stellar nursery containing thousands of young stars and developing protostars. Many will turn out like our sun. Some are even more massive. These massive stars light up the Orion nebula, which is seen here as the bright region near the center of the image."Source: NASA