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MEET OLINGUITO: The Newest Mammal

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A new mammal species was introduced Wednesday at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Meet the Olinguito. It has fluffy red-orange fur, a short bushy tail and a rounded face.

The Smithsonian described the olinguito’s appearance as a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear.

It lives in the habitats of Colombia, Ecuador and other South American countries.

The new mammal is the newest member to the raccoon family tree and the smallest.  It eats mostly fruit and is nocturnal.

Even though the olinguito was introduced yesterday, the mammal has actually been studied for the past decade.

Due to a case of mistaken identity, the olinguito had been seen before by humans.  It had even been in zoos and museums before the DNA of the new species was fully recognized as unique.

Scientists had previously assumed it was the olingo, the new mammal’s sister species.  But olingos are larger, less furry and have longer species than the newly dubbed olinguito.