As far as biologists know, red pandas only exist today in the region around the Himalayas. However, a red panda tooth, estimated to be around 4 to 7 million years old, was recently found in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee.
Steve Wallace, the curator for the East Tennessee Natural History Museum located in Gray, Tenn., said he and his team have unearthed evidence of giant turtles, saber-toothed cats and pot-bellied rhinos at the Gray Fossil site, but were not expecting to dig up an ancient red panda tooth.
Since it was discovered, red panda bones have become common at the site. Wallace said the ancient Tennessee “firefox” was probably much larger, about the size of a mountain lion, and thrived in the thick forests once found in that part of the world.
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