Can we name it Ollie? Scientists discover the South American olinguito

Metro

A mammal that remained wrongly identified for 100 years has finally been ‘discovered’ and named.

The woolly, raccoon-sized olinguito is indigenous to the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia and had for years, scientists believe, been mistaken for its sister species, the olingo.

Separated by numerous characteristics, the olinguito is said to be smaller, have a rounder face, shorter tail, tinier ears and darker fur than its relative.

Described as a ‘cross between a teddy bear and a house cat,’ the olinguito was identified by researchers at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Kristofer Helgen, the institution’s curator of mammals, said: ‘It’s been kind of hiding in plain sight for a long time.’

It’s believed that one in particular, nicknamed Ringerl, had been shipped around American zoos from 1967 to 1976 in a bid to get it to breed with other olingos, which she never did.

Ringerl’s failure to breed…

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