New mammal species discovered - New York News

New mammal species discovered

Posted: Updated:
This undated handout photo provided by Mark Gurney shows an olinguito. (AP Photo/Mark Gurney) This undated handout photo provided by Mark Gurney shows an olinguito. (AP Photo/Mark Gurney)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Researchers at the Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday the discovery of a new species of mammal.

The olinguito looks like a raccoon with a teddy bear face. It belongs to the same grouping as dogs, cats and bears. The critter, whose scientific name is Bassaricyon neblina,leaps through the trees of the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia at night, according to the Smithsonian.

"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, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "If new carnivores can still be found, what other surprises await us? So many of the world's species are not yet known to science. Documenting them is the first step toward understanding the full richness and diversity of life on Earth."

Helgen and a team of scientists spent the better part of a decade tracking the mammal in the wild and examining hundreds of museum specimens. In fact, an olinguito within the Smithsonian was initially believed to be an olingo. When the mammal wouldn't breed with other olingos, researchers became suspicious of its species.

The team of researchers found a similar looking mammal -- the olinguito -- during an expedition through South America. Their first lucky break came when a zoologist with a camcorder captured a few seconds of grainy video of the animal. Then the team set off on a three-week expedition to observe the animals behaviors and habitat. They found that the mostly nocturnal olinguito eats mainly fruit, but may also eat insects and nectar, according to the Smithsonian.

"The cloud forests of the Andes are a world unto themselves, filled with many species found nowhere else, many of them threatened or endangered," Helgen said. "We hope that the olinguito can serve as an ambassador species for the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia, to bring the world’s attention to these critical habitats."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-04-21 02:56:44 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had over 300 jumps under his belt.
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had over 300 jumps under his belt.
  • Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
  • 2 children die in overnight NYC fire

    2 children die in overnight NYC fire

    Sunday, April 20 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-20 22:57:33 GMT
    Police say 4-year-old half siblings have died in an overnight fire at a home in New York City, and the twin of one of the children has survived.
    Police say 4-year-old half siblings have died in an overnight fire at a home in New York City, and the twin of one of the children has survived.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices