Saturday, August 17, 2013
Long-tailed, orange-furred, big-eyed olinguito
The long-tailed, orange-furred, big-eyed olinguito — said to resemble a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear — is the newest mammal and the first carnivore discovered in the Americas in 35 years, the Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday.
Native to the misty forests of Colombia and Ecuador, the olinguito is the smallest member of the raccoon family, said Kristofer Helgen, a Smithsonian scientist who recognized it as a distinct species 10 years ago when he first viewed a long-dead 20th-century specimen in a Chicago museum. It had been identified as a related species, the olingo, but Dr. Helgen said the teeth and skull of the specimen were much different from those of an olingo, which is larger and has more prominent ears than the olinguito. In the interest of being thorough, he sought out colleagues to confirm the existence of the olinguito in its natural habitat, which took years.
Posted by Venkataramanan Ramasethu