Smithsonian researchers announced on Thursday, August 15, 2013, that a rare discovery of a new species of mammal called olinguinto (pronounced oh-lihn-GEE-toe) has been found.
The olinguinto is reddish-brown about 14 inches long with a long bushy tail, and weighs about 2 pounds (about as much as a guinea pig). The creature takes the title of the smallest member of the raccoon family. It eats fruits such as figs, but also enjoys insects and plant nectar. It lives in the trees of mountainous forests of Ecuador and Columbia. It is nocturnal.
The olonguinto is the first new discovery of a carnivore species found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. Ecologist and conservationist Gerardo Ceballos at the National Autonomous University of Mexico said, " The finding was rather remarkable. It is kind of scary because we know very little. About 15 to 20 percent of all mammalian species have been discovered in the past 15 years. Much of that is due to new genetic tools and field technology that enables automated remote equipment to nab a look at "elusive" critters."
Something funny about this creature is that it was once living in the Smithsonian - run National Zoo in Washington D.C. for a year under a mistaken identity. They thought it was a olingo. Olinguinto is a Spanish word for "little, adorable olingo".
Just to look at this little raccoon-like creature with a teddy bear face that is so cute. The creature is hard to resist, let alone overlook. But researchers did, until now.
This raises a question. What other creatures are hiding or elusive under plain sight, just waiting to be discovered? This is what cryptozoologists do. They look for creatures that are hidden or elusive to man. Man's thirst for the unknown is what fuels us to discover new animals and other things that are in the depths of the sea or outer space. God has instilled this attribute in us. This discovery of the little olinguinto, reminds us that there is a lot of discoveries out there. We have only discovered the tip of the iceberg, and we known that 9/10s of a iceberg is hidden. What new discover awaits us? Only time will tell!