Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Worst Adaptations in the Animal Kingdom

        Science | Evolution

2
Pandas
No offense, guys, but it's a wonder that you've survived this long. iStock/Thinkstock
No offense, guys, but it's a wonder that you've survived this long. iStock/Thinkstock

You might notice that pandas get no qualifier for what adaptation is especially bad. I do not in any way want to goad the panda lobby (Big Panda): Pandas are painfully cute. And just when you think pandas can't get more adorable, you are confronted with a baby panda and you die from unbearable (HA!) delight.

But here's the thing.

Pandas are the worst. You think turkeys are dumb? Pandas don't understand mating. And not like humans, who are just perplexed by who should pay for dinner. A panda male at Smithsonian's National Zoo, for instance, tried to mate with his partner's foot, wrist and -- getting closer? -- ear [source: Buchen]. That was better than the second try during which the next male attempted to maul the same female.

OK, that's not entirely fair. For one, those are examples of pandas in captivity. But even in the wild, pandas have trouble. They have to eat a fourth of their weight every day, and that's largely because their all-vegetarian diet isn't actually all that good for their digestive system. Which also might be why they poop 40 times a day: That's one adaptation that isn't going to do the panda any favors [source: Buchen].


More to Explore