December 5, 2007 / 4:04 PM / 12 years ago

China finds panda fossils on tropical island

BEIJING, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Chinese archaeologists have found fossils that prove pandas once roamed what is now the southern Chinese island of Hainan, state media said on Wednesday.

The 400,000-year-old fossils, mostly of teeth, showed the tropical island was once connected to the Chinese mainland, the Xinhua news agency cited Huang Wanbo, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as saying.

The fossils were found last year in a quarry, Huang said.

The giant panda is one of the world’s most endangered species and is found only in China. An estimated 1,600 wild pandas live in nature reserves in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. (Reporting by Jason Subler; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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