Friday, August 16, 2013

As It Stands: Meet a New Cute Mammal today

Mark Gurney

  Good Day World!

TGIF! The weekend looms…meanwhile I’d like to introduce you to a new mammal! He’s new to us, but has been around for a long time.

Brass band buildup….ta da! Say hi to Olinguito (you can call him Fog for short if you’d like).

I can’t wait to see the Olinguito stuffed toy line and the avalanche of other marketing ideas that will surely following this cute critter. Panda’s are going to face a new challenge to their cute mammal monopoly. The world is being introduced to “Fog” by the Smithsonian Institute. Here’s the low down:

A new mammal species has been confirmed by scientists, and it's already melting hearts. The olinguito, described as a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear, is the first new carnivorous mammal identified in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years, and it's considered one of the cutest scientific finds in recent memory.

Photo by Mark Gurney- The newly named "Olinguito" lives in the "cloud forests" in the Andes. Its scientific name, Bassaricyon neblina, comes from the Spanish name for fog.

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Kristofer Helgen talks about the introduction of the olinguito — a member of the raccoon family who is being described as a cross between a house-cat and a teddy bear.

"It's certainly the cutest new species described in a long time," Roland Kays, director of the Biodiversity and Earth Observation Lab at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said.

In addition to cat and teddy bear comparisons, "it has a bit of monkey and raccoon thrown in there too," said Kays.

The researchers describe the entire olingo family, including a first-time analysis of the elusive olinguito, in the Aug. 15 edition of the journal ZooKeys.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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