Thursday, August 15, 2013

Science: New Species of Mammal that Looks Like A Teddy Bear With Size of A House Cat Discovered (New Best Friend?)

Source:  CNN.

The Smithsonian has announced the discovery of a new species of mammal that isn't a bat.  And in fact, look at the adorable little guy.  More at the Smithsonian.

It's called the olinguito (oh-lin-GHEE-toe) who finds its home in Andes Mountains - way, way up high.  And here's the thing, because it looks like similar animals in the region, the olingos, no one has thought that this was a totally different species.

It was upon examining the olinguito's physiology that lead scientists to believe this different animal. An expedition was organized to see if the olinguitos were still living in the wild.  And yes, they were.  A three week expedition was able to find out a few things about their behaviors.
Olinguito ("Bassaricyon neblina"). A team, led by Smithsonian scientist Kristofer Helgen, spent 10 years examining hundreds of museum specimens and tracking animals in the wild in the cloud forests of Ecuador. The result―the newest species of mammal known to science, the olinguito ("Bassaricyon neblina") (Photo by Mark Gurney)
The thing about this are the sharp claws.  Otherwise, yeah, wouldn't you want one of these little guys?  They eat fruits and small bugs, they raise single baby at a time, keep themselves high up at night, and are a bit smaller than your average cat.

The thing is that the the cloud forests (I love this terms for the reason) in the Andes are under threat more more development.  They're hoping this discovery will provide another reason why we should begin respecting our rain forests and other natural areas.

Of course, we are humans and we're in charge.  So...

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