Just look at this thing. How does it exist? Back in August, a team from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History led by curator of mammals, Kristofer Helgen, announced the discovery of the olinguito – the first new species of carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
The olinguito has become a science media darling this past week. And why not? It’s small and furry and doesn’t look quite like anything you’ve seen before.
As fans of the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation know, skulls and teeth can provide excellent forensic clues. Yet any taxonomist will tell you that hard-boiled detectives and forensic scientists are far from the only ones to appreciate the investigative powers of craniums and pearly whites.
With its soft, round ears, pink nose and wide, brown eyes, the olinguito is an absolute teddy bear, and the first new species of carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
By Jason G. Goldman and Matt Soniak It should come as no surprise that we humans can be a bit confused when it comes to our relationship with other animals.