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‘Olinguito’, the cutest new animal

Last Updated: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 15:24

Zee Media Bureau/Ritu Singh

Washington: A team of scientists from the Smithsonian Institute have announced the discovery of a rare of a new mammal species. Named ‘olinguito’, the 2-pound raccoon-sized furry critter is being touted as the cutest finds in recent history.

Olinguito’s scientific name, Bassaricyon neblina, comes from the Spanish name fog and is a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear. It leaps through the trees of mountainous forests of Ecuador and Colombia at night.

It eats fruit, weighs about 2 pounds (1 kilogram) and has one baby at a time.

It is the first species in the order Carnivora to be discovered in the Western Hemisphere since the 1980`s. It has been classified as a carnivore because the term – generally understood to mean a meat eater – also applies to any other animal in the order Carnivora, which includes cats, dogs, bears and other such animals.

But the adorable olinguito should not have been too hard to find. One of them lived in the Smithsonian-run National Zoo in the Washington for a year, but the scientists had mistaken it for one its bigger cousins.

The olinguito was first spotted in a fig tree jungle near Otonga, Ecuador in 2006. Since then researchers been trying to determine, genetically, how distinct it really was from the other furry mammals it resembles.

1.3 million species have been discovered, named, and catalogued that reside on planet Earth and as many as 100,000 species go extinct each year.

First Published: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 10:11

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