There's a lot of excitement in the world of animals. You may not know it, but a new mammal has been discovered. On Aug. 15, Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, presented evidence of the new mammal.
Smithsonian Magazine contains a slideshow photo gallery of the olinguito, a carnivorous mammal that lives in the trees of Central and South America.
The discovery of new mammals is a rare occurrence. Even though new insects and amphibians are discovered often, this is the first discovery of a new mammal in 35 years.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the discovery of a new carnivorous mammal is especially rare. The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Ecuador and Columbia.
The formal name of the olinguito is Bassaricyon neblina. According to the team that discovered the olinguitos, there are four separate subspecies of olinguitos.
Olinguitos are nocturnal creatures. On average, olinguitos are 14 inches long and weigh about two pounds. They are slightly smaller than their relatives, the olingos, which average 16 inches long and 2.4 pounds in weight.
Kids will be excited to learn more about this new mammal, but you may not find olinguitos in a zoo any time in the near future. Over 40 percent of cloud forests have been cleared for agricultural usage.
Researchers hope to protect the olinguito from becoming endangered by raising awareness of the new mammals while protecting their natural habitats.
You can read more about olinguitos at the link to Smithsonian Magazine above. When your kids need an idea for a great science project, Smithsonian Magazine is a great place to start.