What to know about raccoon dogs, which may be linked to coronavirus’s origin

A raccoon dog at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City in 2015. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)
4 min

A raccoon dog has been linked to the long-running debate over the origins of the coronavirus after an international team of scientists reported that a sample taken in a Wuhan, China, market in early 2020 showed genetic traces of the virus and the animal. Scientists cautioned, though, that their finding does not definitively prove that raccoon dogs were the first source of the virus spreading to humans.

Here’s what you need to know about the furry creature that’s now at the center of the debate over the coronavirus’s mysterious origins.