After years of sleuthing, the Smithsonian has identified a new species of carnivore. The olinguito is a rust-colored, furry mammal that lives in the treetops of the Andes Mountains and weighs two pounds, making it the most petite member of the raccoon family.
A team led by Smithsonian zoologist Kristofer M. Helgen spent years examining hundreds of museum specimens and tracking animals in the wild in the cloud forests of Ecuador. The result? It identified a new species of mammal, the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina). The discovery corrects a case of mistaken identity. For decades, scientists thought the olinguito was an olingo, a larger member of the raccoon family, or another mammal. Mark Gurney Buy Photo