Is a red panda re­ally a panda?

Girls' World - - Critter Q&a -

Al­though they share the same name, a red panda isn’t re­lated to the black and white species of panda! Many years ago, ex­perts clas­si­fied the red panda as a rel­a­tive of the panda be­cause they share a habi­tat. But they later were clas­si­fied as a type of rac­coon be­cause of the rings on their tail. It wasn’t un­til 2000 that sci­en­tists de­cided that red pan­das are so spe­cial that they should have their own clas­si­fi­ca­tion: a mam­mal fam­ily called Ail­uri­dae. (Pan­das are in the mam­mal fam­ily Ail­uropoda melanoleuca). But if red pan­das are mostly re­lated to any an­i­mal, ex­perts agree it would be skunks and rac­coons!

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