The Associated Press picked up a strange news item from China: Wei Guangbiao, who heads the Institute of Three Gorges Paleoanthropology, told his local paper that people used to eat pandas.

This conclusion required a little bit of a logical leap.

Archeological evidence shows that “pandas were once slashed to death by man,” according to Wei. But, he says, “in primitive times, people wouldn’t kill animals that were useless to them.” Therefore, they must have eaten them.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

This goes against everything we believe about pandas now. We think they are rare, cute, and not to be eaten. Our ancestors thought they were numerous enough to be eaten, scary enough to be slashed to death, and tasty. We’d also never given a lot of thought to prehistoric pandas, existence of. It’s all kind of blowing our minds a little! But now we are curious how pandas taste. Kind of.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!