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Panda Updates- Monday, October 3

Positive reinforcement training sessions with the giant pandas show us some of the ways they can be active participants in their own medical care. One of the most important behaviors that the giant pandas know is an “open mouth” behavior, which allows us to check out their teeth and make sure they are looking healthy. Bamboo contains a lot of silica, which wears down teeth over time and is often a big problem for giant pandas in the wild. The tooth enamel of giant pandas is stronger than our own but is still not as tough as bamboo. A study in 2018 showed that tooth enamel in giant pandas has a mechanism to prevent some of the damage caused by their difficult-to-chew diet. When cracks form in the tooth enamel on a micro- and nano- scale, the enamel can recover its original form and prevent a tiny crack from becoming a larger one. The authors of the study hope that their work will lead to developments in developing more durable ceramic materials, which can be used in many fields.  

Sources: 

Weng, Z.Y., Liu Z.Q., Ritchie, R.O., Jiao D., Li D.S., Wu H.L., Deng L. H., Zhang Z.F. (2016). Giant panda׳s tooth enamel structure, mechanical behavior and … Science Direct. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www2.lbl.gov/ritchie/Library/PDF/2016_Weng_JMBBM_GiantPandasTootEnamel.pdf  

Liu, Z., Weng, Z., Zhai, Z.-F., Huang, N., Zhang, Z.-J., Tan, J., Jiang, C., Jiao, D., Tan, G., Zhang, J., Jiang, X., Zhang, Z., & Ritchie, R. O. (2018, September 28). Hydration-induced nano- to micro-scale self-recovery of the tooth enamel of the giant panda. Acta Biomaterialia. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706118305828#!  

 

Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl