Science Cafe: Discovery of the Olinguito
Observed in the wild, tucked away in museum collections, and even exhibited in zoos, there is one mysterious creature that has been a victim of mistaken identity for more than 100 years. A team of scientists — including Roland Kays of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences — recently completed their study of this remarkable animal, an investigation that took them on a journey from museum cabinets in Chicago to cloud forests in South America to genetics labs in Washington, D.C. The result: the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), the first new carnivore species to be discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
About Our Speaker
Dr. Roland Kays is director of the Museum’s Biodiversity and Earth Observation Research Lab. He is also a professor in the Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Program at NC State University, as well as a research associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Roland has a broad interest in ecology and conservation, especially of mammals, and is an expert in using new technologies to study free-ranging animals. Kays’ research utilizes both high-tech and traditional methods of data collection, combining his new field work with the study of museum collections.