Multivariate statistical analyses of cranial and dental morphology and comparison of pelage coloration were used to describe a new subspecies of giant panda from the Qinling Mountain range of Shaanxi Province in China. Based on 2 components that were highly related to skull and molar sizes, respectively, principal components analysis grouped all samples into 2 clusters corresponding to the Qinling and Sichuan samples. The Qinling cluster was characterized by significantly smaller skulls and larger molars compared to the Sichuan cluster. Based on skull and molar sizes, discriminant function analysis also correctly identified all samples from Qinling and Sichuan populations. Comparison of pelage coloration indicated that Sichuan individuals had black chest patches and white ventral pelages, whereas Qinling pandas had dark brown chest patches and brown ventral pelages. These results reveal that the diagnostic characteristics of the new Qinling subspecies are a small skull, large molars, dark brown chest patch, and brown ventral pelage.
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