While in China, Father David (Jean Pierre Armand David, 1826-1900) became aware of the giant pandas when he saw a black and white skin of one in a farmer's house. He obtained panda skins and sent them to Paris which stimulated western interest in this animal. He then correctly classified pandas as bears (family Ursidae) and gave them the Latin binomial of Ursus melanoleucus, from, melano-, black, -leucus, white, hence a "black-and-white bear".  David's "Ursus melanoleucus" was later changed to Ailuropoda melanoleuca (a new genus) because of similarities to Ailurus fulgens, the racoonlike lesser panda, also known as the red panda.

red panda