Unearthed from the bowels of the Bulgarian National Museum of Natural History, two tooth fossils unearthed in the 1970s helped identify a new species of European giant panda that is thought to be the closest relative of the modern giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), the famous bamboo lover.
Two blackened teeth
The two quenottes of the upper jaw (a carnassial tooth and a canine) were initially discovered by paleontologist Ivan Nikolov, in northwestern Bulgaria, in a coal deposit that colored them black. They were then kept at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia then found by Nikolai Spassov, a researcher affiliated with the museum. The latter conducted research to understand the circumstances of their discovery and analyzed them. It was he who understood that they belonged to an ancient species of unknown giant panda, now called Agriarctos nikolovi.