San Diego Zoo's newest Giant Panda cub received its first veterinary exam this morning. The quick, 3-minute exam allowed staff just enough time to determine that the cub is healthy, thriving and weighs 1.5 pounds. Vets were able to listen to the cub's heart and lungs - which sounded good - but were not able to determine the sex.
The paws of this cub might be tiny now, but they will grow into one of the most interesting paws in the animal kingdom. Giant Pandas have a pseudo thumb, which enhances their ability to gather and eat bamboo. No other species of bear (yes, they are definitively bears thanks to molecular testing!) has this distinctive trait.
This is the sixth Giant Panda born at the San Diego Zoo, the most born at a breeding facility outside of China. All six Giant Panda births have been to mother Bai Yun. The previous cub born at the San Diego Zoo was a male named Yun Zi. Born on Aug. 5, 2009, his name means "son of cloud."