Anthony Armentano, exculsive to Global Animal
The animal kingdom got a lot cuter this week, and that’s all due to researchers at the Smithsonian. On Thursday, the Museum of Natural History announced a new species of mammal, the olinguito. A member of the raccoon family, the animal was discovered in the treetops of South America’s Andes mountain range.
Just one day after the museum’s announcement, Dr. Kristofer Helgen, the curator of mammals at the Smithsonian, participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the social news website, Reddit. An AMA is more or less the online version of an interview, where anyone with an Internet connection can submit questions to the interviewee.
Dr. Helgen fielded a range of questions from curious Redditors on Friday afternoon, spending three hours on the site answering them. A number of the questions focused on the olinguito itself, but the Smithsonian curator also got a chance to discuss the likelihood of future mammal discoveries.
“There is no doubt that there are many hundreds of unknown living mammal species out there that still have not been ‘discovered’ or given scientific names,” Helgen told Redditor Spacely21.
Helgen also delved into the naming and discovery process of new species, and revealed the verification process for the olinguito discovery took the researchers ten years.
If curiosity is gnawing at you incessantly, take a look at the AMA for yourself, and get a glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s experienced researchers. Even if science isn’t exactly your thing, hop on over to the Reddit page anyway, and learn even more about the newest addition to the animal kingdom.