August 15, 2013
Smithsonian scientists discover new species of carnivore: the Olinguito.
Observed in the wild, tucked away in museum collections, and even exhibited in zoos around the world ― there is one mysterious creature that has been a victim of mistaken identity for more than 100 years. A team of Smithsonian scientists, however, uncovered overlooked museum specimens of this remarkable animal, which took them on a journey from museum cabinets in Chicago to cloud forests in South America to genetics labs in Washington, D.C. The result: the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) ― the first carnivore species to be discovered in the American continents in 35 years. The team’s discovery is published in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal ZooKeys.The olinguito (oh-lin-GHEE-toe) looks like a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear. It is actually the latest scientifically documented member of the family Procyonidae, which it shares with raccoons, coatis, kinkajous and olingos. The 2-pound olinguito, with its large eyes and woolly orange-brown fur, is native to the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, as its scientific name, “neblina” (Spanish for “fog”), hints. In addition to being the latest described member of its family, another distinction the olinguito holds is that it is the newest species in the order Carnivora ― an incredibly rare discovery in the 21st century.
Via Smithsonian Science

Smithsonian scientists discover new species of carnivore: the Olinguito.

Observed in the wild, tucked away in museum collections, and even exhibited in zoos around the world ― there is one mysterious creature that has been a victim of mistaken identity for more than 100 years. A team of Smithsonian scientists, however, uncovered overlooked museum specimens of this remarkable animal, which took them on a journey from museum cabinets in Chicago to cloud forests in South America to genetics labs in Washington, D.C. The result: the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) ― the first carnivore species to be discovered in the American continents in 35 years. The team’s discovery is published in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal ZooKeys.The olinguito (oh-lin-GHEE-toe) looks like a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear. It is actually the latest scientifically documented member of the family Procyonidae, which it shares with raccoons, coatis, kinkajous and olingos. The 2-pound olinguito, with its large eyes and woolly orange-brown fur, is native to the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, as its scientific name, “neblina” (Spanish for “fog”), hints. In addition to being the latest described member of its family, another distinction the olinguito holds is that it is the newest species in the order Carnivora ― an incredibly rare discovery in the 21st century.

Via Smithsonian Science

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