Part Cat, Part Teddy Bear: Meet the Olinguito, New Species Discovered
For the first time in 35 years, an entirely new carnivore species has been discovered in the American continents. Meet the Olinguito, an animal described as "part teddy bear, part cat," and found in the forests of Colombia and Ecuador, where a big chunk of its habitat is disappearing rapidly to new neighborhoods, logging and farming operations.
According to Smithsonian Science, a Technorati listed Science blog, the little tree-borne creature has been mislabeled for well over a century, even finding its way into zoos and museums under the auspices of an entirely different species.
In the 1920's one researcher studied the animal, and surmised that perhaps he was looking at a new species, but never followed through to make the discovery long ago. It took modern researchers looking at skull bones to realize that this was an entirely new type of animal, belonging to the Olingo family.
“The discovery of the olinguito shows us that the world is not yet completely explored, its most basic secrets not yet revealed,” said Kristofer Helgen, who is the Curator of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. It is Helgen's team that initially reported the discovery in this month's issue of the scientific journal ZooKeys.
Read more about the new discovery, and let us know how high the cute factor runs on this little furry fella.