New mammal identified!

Posted by Christine, August 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC, August 15, 2013 (ENS) – The first new carnivore species to be identified in the American continents in 35 years was introduced to the public today by the Smithsonian Institution scientist who recognized it from skins and skulls tucked away in the collection of the Chicago Field Museum.

Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and his team uncovered the forgotten museum specimens in 2003 and followed a trail that took them from museum cabinets in Chicago to the cloud forests of Ecuador to genetics labs in Washington, DC.


An olinguito in the cloud forest of South America (Photo by Mark Gurney courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

Their work resulted in today’s debut of the newest species of mammal known to science, the olinguito, (oh-lin-GHEE-toe) Bassaricyon neblina.

While classified as a carnivore, the olinguito mainly eats fruit, but may also eat some insects and nectar.

Read more about it here.

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