The Cuteness Of Baby Pandas Can Be Explained By Science

How do I get this job?!?!  There appears to be a whole field of neuroscience focused on studying why certain animals are cute (aka Cute Studies) and, as NPR helpfully recapped for my pleasure, one of the animals they have explored is baby pandas.

Strap on your squee-belt, because it’s about the get adorable up in here.

The New York Times looked into the “why are pandas cute?” question way back in 1987 and found that with their round eyes, roly-poly bodies and playful toddler-like demeanor (such as playing on slides and rocking horses), panda babies appear “neotenous.” What does that mean? Explained Dr. Edgar E. Coons, a neuroscientist, these qualities “are known as innate releasers to our parenting instincts,” also known as nurturing. In other words, my ovaries love panda babies because they remind me of … human babies. [Then what explains the human love for disgusting sloths? — Editor]

I think there are other qualities that these scientists have not considered, or at least, may not have focused on. Pandas aren’t particularly aggressive animals, so their babies seem ever-the-more innocent than other animal babies. Also, panda babies are fuzzy for the first several months, which, like ducklings and chicks, make them appear even more cute. Plus, any animal would look adorable if you put seven of them inside a baby crib.

But in the end, who really cares (other than me)?  Just as long as with the recent public debut of baby panda Xiao Liwu at the San Diego Zoo, a whole new generation of animal fans become panda lovers.

Thanks to reader Juan for the link!


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