The taxonomic classification of the red panda has been controversial since it was discovered. French zoologist Frédéric Cuvier initially described the red panda in 1825, and classified it as a close relative of the raccoon ( Procyonidae ), though he gave it the genus name Ailurus , (from Ancient Greek αἴλουρος, "cat"), based on superficial similarities with domestic cats. The specific epithet is the Latin adjective fulgens , "shining".  At various times, it has been placed in the Procyonidae, Ursidae , with Ailuropoda (giant panda) in the Ailuropodinae (until this family was moved into the Ursidae), and into its own family, the Ailuridae . This uncertainty comes from difficulty in determining whether certain characteristics of Ailurus are phylogenetically conservative or are derived and convergent with species of similar ecological habits.