Family News

Family News
Giant pandas stay chubby on bamboo diet due to gut bacteria

Despite almost exclusively eating fibrous bamboo, giant pandas manage to stay chubby and healthy due to a seasonal change in their gut bacteria, a new study has shown.

Researchers have found that the animals’ gut bacteria changes at the time of year when nutritious bamboo shoots become available.

This shift helps the bear gain weight and store more fat, and may help compensate for the lack of nutrients in seasons when there are only bamboo leaves to chew on, the study suggests.

Depending on what part of the grass they are eating, pandas need to eat around 11.7 to 38 kilograms of bamboo every day.

“This is the first time we established a causal relationship between a panda’s gut microbiota and its phenotype,” First author Guangping Huang, at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said.


Single page of comic sells for €3m at US auction

A single page of original artwork from an acclaimed 1984 comic featuring Spider-Man has sold for a record $3.36m (€2.93m) in the United States, making the webslinger the world’s mightiest auction superhero.

The page features the first appearance of Spidey’s black symbiote suit that would later lead to the creation of anti-hero Venom in artwork by Mike Zeck from Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars no. 8.

“This page was the big reveal teased on the cover! This is where Peter Parker actually got his spiffy new black costume,” Heritage Auctions said in its description of the artwork for page 25 of the issue.

“But… it’s a costume with a secret! Because it very soon turns out to be alive and have its own agenda. This is the origin of the character Venom!”

Bidding for the artwork started at $330,000.


Chinese couple trapped on lockdown date get engaged

A Chinese couple who were trapped on a never-ending date thanks to a coronavirus lockdown have been relieved to find that love, and not Covid-19, is in the air and have agreed to tie the knot.

It is the second time this month that China’s state media have published reports about a couple on a date getting trapped by sudden lockdown rules – but this one has a happier ending.

Zhao Xiaoqing, a 28-year-old woman from northern China’s Shaanxi province, thought her date in mid-December with a young man living in a different city would be a one-day affair where she would also get to know his family.

However authorities in her date’s city of Xianyang suddenly ordered a lockdown due to a spike in virus cases, leaving the woman unable to return home.

Despite the awkward start, the pair began to develop feelings for each other, and have now decided to get engaged.