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Kristofer Helgen    

Zoologist & Curator of Mammals at the Smithsonian; Discovered the Carnivorous Mammal, the Olinguito

Kristofer Helgen is a research zoologist and curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He earned his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Adelaide in Australia and has worked on almost every continent. Kris is renowned for discovering new mammal species worldwide. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel and on television and radio programs around the world.

Though he's still in the beginning of his career, Helgen has already discovered approximately 100 species of mammals that were previously unknown to science, including the newly-discovered carnivorous mammal, the olinguito.

The olinguito made headlines not just because many people mistook it for the already-known olingo, but because finding a new, carnivorous mammal is extremely rare. Helgen was the one who led the discovery, which took 13 years and actually started out as a study to fully describe the olingo.

It was at the Chicago Field Museum that Helgen found pelts identified as those of the olingo, though they seemed different to Helgen. Upon analyzing the teeth and general anatomy of the associated skulls, Helgen realized that it was an entirely new species.


'Day One' for Olinguito - YouTube
added about 7 years ago


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