People might find pandas cute because the animal’s facial features remind the brain of human babies, research suggests. Pandas and human babies have large heads with prominent eyes, flat noses and round faces. Research also has found that when humans view juvenile images of babies or pandas, it triggers the middle orbital cortex, the part of the brain responsible for feelings of pleasure and positive emotion. Even research participants who claimed they did not find the images cute had brain scans that showed differently. This is thought to be for evolutionary survival reasons, so that adults instinctively feel the desire to take care of babies.
More about pandas:
- Pandas spend about 12 hours per day eating. The average panda eats 28 pounds (12.5 kg) of bamboo each day.
- As of 2013, there were an estimated 1,600 pandas left in the wild and about 200 living in zoos.
- Newborn pandas are 1/900th the size of their mothers. Excluding marsupials, baby pandas are the smallest newborn mammals in relation to their mothers’ sizes.