Adaptations of Red Pandas
Red Pandas have a few adaptations that have helped them survive. They have an enlarged wrist bone located on the front of their paws that serves as a thumb type of bone. It allows the pandas the grasp and hold onto the bamboo shoots. They have a large bushy tail which can be used as a pillow and to prevent heat loss. Their tails also help with balance, acting as a prop when they stand on their hind legs. Red Pandas are also great climbers. They have strong, curved claws which help them grip to the trees. They use their hind legs to begin a face first descent down the tree to make a quick escape from their enemies. Another advantage, playing a role in their quick escapes, is that they aren't very big. They range from 8 to 14 pounds which also allows them to walk on thing branches.
The Red Pandas should have an adaptation of improving the bone on their wrists and forming an actual, opposable (human-like), thumb. This adaptation could help the red pandas grip food, tree branches, and many other things that they need to do to survive. The bone in their wrist will grow into a full sized thumb bone. Their wrist bone now looks like the picture on the left. When it is evolved it will look more like the picture on the right. This adaptation could start because of a genetic mutation in the gene that produces bone marrow producing cells. These cells produce osteoblasts which could create more bones and bone marrow. Over time, the new offspring would be able to survive better with this adaptation, and in turn red pandas would become better survivors.
Below is a Phylogenetic tree and a cladogram of different species related to the Red Panda