Meet the olinguito – the newest member of the raccoon family and the first carnivorous mammal species discovered in the American continents in 35 years.
At an announcement Thursday in Washington, DC, the curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History presented evidence establishing the olinguito as a living species distinct from other olingos, which are tree-dwelling meat eaters native to central and south America.
New species of insects and amphibians are discovered fairly regularly but new mammals and especially carnivorous mammals are very rare, according to a report in the Smithsonian magazine online.
Though olingos were seen to be living about three miles away from the olinguitos, they share about 90 percent of their DNA making them distinct species. Humans share about 99 percent of our DNA with chimps and bonobos, according to the Smithsonian report.