• Reuters

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Giant pandas eat plenty of veggies, but apparently they like dessert, too. Scientists studying the endangered bears say that while pandas almost exclusively eat bamboo, which contains only tiny amounts of sugars, they showed a strong preference for natural sweeteners in an experiment.

The researchers also examined panda DNA and found a match to the same “sweet receptor” gene that humans possess, which underpins our ability to taste sugars.

Sweeter foods like fruit may have been part of the natural diet of pandas before human activities drove the animals into their current mountainous habitat where those foods are scarce, researchers said.

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