After identifying hordes of previously undiscovered creepy-crawly critters that kind of frighten us, scientists have finally given us a new species we can cuddle (in theory). Meet the olinguito.
This new species of mammal belongs to the grouping of large, adorable creatures that are already household favorites — cats, dogs, and bears. And to think, all this time, we've been deprived of this cuddly little face.
Hey, buddy. Small thing: Those Lady Gaga nails are so 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Gurney)
Of course, this discovery is surprising not only because of the olinguito's cuteness, but also because this mammal had been hiding in plain sight for years. After being shipped from zoo to zoo, this little guy spent the last year residing at the Smithsonian National Zoo, where he was mistaken for an olingo.
Yes, olingo and olinguito sound similar, but our new find is distinctively different from its sister breed (see below). Olinguitos are smaller, have shorter tails, rounder faces, smaller ears, and fluffier fur. Basically, they're just cuter.
"It looks kind of like a fuzzball… kind of like a cross between a teddy bear and a house cat," a Smithsonian curator told the Associated Press.
Finding a new breed of large, charismatic mammals is rare. So rare that such a discovery hasn't been made in nearly 35 years.
This is an olingo, not an olinguito. Duh. (Paul Souders/Corbis)