For the first time in 35 years, researchers have discovered a new species of carnivorous mammal in the Americas. And it’s super adorable.
Looking like a “cross between a house cat and a teddy bear” the newly discovered olinguito is more closely related to the raccoon.
Smithsonian researchers announced the discovery of the new mammal today, August 15, and it was published the journal ZooKeys. It’s the first carnivorous mammal discovered in either North or South America in the last 35 years.
Discovering a new carnivorous mammal is extremely rare, but surprisingly there are still animals out there unknown to us.
“The discovery of the olinguito shows us that the world is not yet completely explored, its most basic secrets not yet revealed,” Kristof Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, said in a press release. “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.”
It was discovered in the cloud forests of Ecuador, weighs about two pounds, mostly eats fruit (but sometimes meat), and rarely leaves the trees. Here are some more adorable images of our new addition:
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