Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Species of Carnivorous Mammal Discovered in South America


A new carnivorous mammalian species, called the olinguito, has been discovered in South America. It's a relative of raccoons and lives in the cloud forests of the northern Andes. This is not our first brush with the olinguito. It seems it was misidentified in the past.


"For all of modern history, a small, carnivorous South American mammal in the raccoon family has evaded the scientific community. Untold thousands of these red, furry creatures scampered through the trees of the Andean cloud forests, but they did so at night, hidden by dense fog. Nearly two dozen preserved samples—mostly skulls or furs— were mislabeled in museum collections across the United States. There’s even evidence that one individual lived in several American zoos during the 1960s—its keepers were mystified as to why it refused to breed with its peers." Smithsonian Article

"A fuzzy fog-dweller with a face like a teddy bear is the first carnivore found in the Western Hemisphere in more than three decades, a new study says.

The 2-pound (0.9-kilogram) creature, called an olinguito, didn't make itself easy to find. The orange-brown mammal lives out a solitary existence in the dense, hard-to-study cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, which inspired part of its Latin name Bassaricyon neblina: Neblina is Spanish for "fog."" National Geographic Article

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