The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, December 19, 2014


A team of Smithsonian scientists discover new species of carnivore in South America
A man photographs illustrations of an olinguito, the first carnivore animal species to be discovered in the American continents in 35 years, during a press conference announcing the discovery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, August 15, 2013. The 2-pound (900 grams) mammal, the smallest member of the raccoon family, mainly eats fruit, insects and nectar, and can be found only in the cloud forests of the northern Andes Mountains in Ecuador and Columbia. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB.

By: Kerry Sheridan

WASHINGTON (AFP).- A lap-sized critter that looks like a mix between a raccoon and a teddy bear was unveiled Thursday as the first new carnivore in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.

Scientists say the olinguito has actually been around for ages, in zoos, museums and in the forests of Ecuador and Colombia, but was mistaken for its larger cousin, the olingo.

A big clue that this tree-crawling animal was something unusual was that it never wanted to breed with the olingo, experts said.

The new species, named Bassaricyon neblina, is now understood to be the smallest member of the same family as raccoons, kinkajous and olingos.

With wide, round eyes and tiny claws that help it cling to branches, the olinguito can jump between trees. It feasts mainly on fruit but also eats insects.

Its discovery, which took a decade of research, is described in the August 15 edition of the journal ZooKeys.

As part of the journey, scientists realized that museum specimens of the olinguito had been collected from higher elevations -- 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500-2,700 meters) above sea level -- in the Andes Mountains than olingos were known to inhabit.

DNA analysis was also done to differentiate the olinguitos from their cousins.

The olinguito was smaller, with a differently shaped head and teeth. Its orange-brown coat was also longer and denser.

And when researchers took to the South American forests to see if the creatures were still around in the wild, they were not disappointed.

They found plenty of olinguitos in the cloud forests of the western Andes, and noted that the creatures are active at night.

The two-pound (one-kilogram) animals also appear to prefer staying in the trees and have one baby at a time instead of several.

"The cloud forests of the Andes are a world unto themselves, filled with many species found nowhere else, many of them threatened or endangered," said Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

"We hope that the olinguito can serve as an ambassador species for the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia, to bring the world's attention to these critical habitats."

Helgen and his fellow researchers on the project estimate that 42 percent of historic olinguito habitat has already been converted to agriculture or urban areas.

There are four sub-species of the olinguito, and they are not being classified as endangered. Experts believe there must be many thousands of them, possibly even in Venezuela and Peru.

At least one olinguito from Colombia was exhibited in several zoos in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, researchers said.

Back in the 1920s, a zoologist in New York was said to have found the olinguito so unusual that he thought it might be a new species, but he did not publish any research to document the discovery.

"Proving that a species exists and giving it a name is where everything starts," said Helgen.

"This is a beautiful animal, but we know so little about it. How many countries does it live in? What else can we learn about its behavior? What do we need to do to ensure its conservation?"

According to the Smithsonian, the most recent new meat-eating mammal found in the Western Hemisphere was the Colombian weasel in 1978.

A mongoose-like carnivorous mammal that is native to Madagascar was found in 2010.




© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse





Today's News

August 16, 2013

A team of Smithsonian scientists discover new species of carnivore in South America

Monet's early masterpiece Le Pont de bois (1872) now on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Canada

SFMOMA elects Ed Ruscha to Board of Trustees bringing new diversity and expertise

Rare & unique prints by German Expressionists to be offered at Christie's in September

Christie's to offer major works from most sought-after cutting-edge artists on the market

Holocaust hero Schindler's plant blueprints sold by RR Auction in New Hampshire

Details of Grace Kelly exhibition at James A. Michener Art Museum unveiled

Flammarion publishes book with previously unpublished body of work by André Kertész

The Treasures of Tulane: Abraham Lincoln document highlights Tulane exhibition

Berlin based curator Kasper König has been selected as Chief Curator of Manifesta 10

SOFA CHICAGO announces initial exhibitor line up for 20th annual fair Nov 1-3

Wanted: Exhibition of selected works from the Mugrabi Collection on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Yoko Ono: Wish Tree installation will close at Saint Louis Art Museum on Labor Day

Ash: Wang Ling solo exhibition opens at Soemo Fine Arts in Beijing

SC Johnson supports National Museum of American History renovation

Smithsonian scientists use rare fossils to catch up to speedy snail evolution

Over 1 million visitors to The National Museum of Ireland - Natural History

Auctions America's Auburn fall sale features 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle to Benefit Darrell Gwynn Foundation

New book offers a compilation of over 50 of the most fascinating interviews from PIN-UP magazine

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Colossal statue of Amenhotep III unveiled on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt

2.- British royals crown New York visit with gala dinner

3.- Missing artwork rediscovered in "Stuart Little" sells for over 200,000 euros at auction

4.- Rossetti's Venus Verticordia soars at Sotheby's in London to sell for £2.88 million

5.- Russian magnate buys, then returns Nobel prize to American geneticist James Watson

6.- Egyptian Museum unveils four newly renovated halls of the famed Tutankhamun gallery

7.- 'The Secret of Dresden: From Rembrandt to Canaletto' on view at the Groninger Museum

8.- Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum reopens after three-year renovation

9.- More than 200 queries about works by possible heirs received on Nazi-era art hoard

10.- Attorney, artist and filmmaker reflects on the seven lessons learned at 2014 Art Basel Miami Beach



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site