Giant pandas should not be able to eat bamboo because they are bears and lack enzymes to digest wood fiber. They also lack the long intestinal tract that herbivores have. But even so, the giant pans live almost exclusively on bamboo.

Now researchers in China have found the explanation for the pandas breaking down the bamboo. They have special bacteria in their digestive system.

The researchers analyzed the feces of giant pandas in captivity and in freedom and concluded that they appear to have been developed and adapted so that they can eat the hard-melted bamboo. In addition to the special bacteria, the pans also have extra strong teeth and chewing muscles and plenty of intestinal mucus.