Red pandas possess extremely robust dentition in contrast with that of similar procyonids.
Red pandas possess extremely robust dentition in contrast with that of the procyonids with which they are compared frequently.
The P4, M1, and M2 are wider than they are long and bear accessory cusplets. Each upper premolar possesses more than one cusp and P3 has a well developed paracone and hypocone; P1 is absent and the p1 is minute or absent.
The dental formula is i 3/3, c 1/1, p 3/3-4, m 2/2, total 36-38. The fourth upper premolar, a principal discerning dental character in Carnivora, is large with five cusps as in Procyon and Ailuropoda. By contrast, in the Ursidae P4 has only three cusps which are degenerate. The second and third upper and lower premolars are large and robust. The large cheektooth surface promotes mediolateral movement for a grinding action and correlates with a highly specialized diet of bamboo and fibrous plant material. The symphasis meti is relatively flexible with a moderate degree of independent movement of the hemimandibles.