For the First Time in 35 Years, A New Carnivorous Mammal Species is Discovered in the American Continents

Native to the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia, the olinguito is the newest member of the raccoon family

For all of modern history, a small, carnivorous South American mammal in the raccoon family has evaded the scientific community. Untold thousands of these red, furry creatures scampered through the trees of the Andean cloud forests, but they did so at night, hidden by dense fog. Nearly two dozen preserved samples—mostly skulls or furs— were mislabeled in museum collections across the United States. There’s even evidence that one individual lived in several American zoos during the 1960s—its keepers were mystified as to why it refused to breed with its peers.

Now, the discovery of the olinguito has solved the mystery. At an announcement today in Washington, D.C., Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, presented anatomical and DNA evidence that establish the olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe) as a living species distinct from other known olingos, carnivorous tree-dwelling mammals native to Central and South America. His team’s work, also published today in the journal ZooKeys, represents the first discovery of a new carnivorous mammal species in the American continents in more than three decades. (Read more)

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

11 months ago 77 notes

Become a Tracker

Trackers read the stories that animals write as they move across the land. The depth of a pawprint, the angle of a broken twig, the splatter of a puddle – these are the patterns that a Tracker deconstructs. The easiest way to start tracking is to identify a set of tracks. Consult a tracking guide and cross reference it with the species known to be in your area. 

More challenges:

1 year ago 82 notes

Getting ready for our Halloween Workshop! Each of us at DIY HQ made masks to wear tonight.

If you’re in SF, come by. We’re going to have an open flame for making s’mores, and everything you need to make your own headlamp.

Details here.

1 year ago 29 notes