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Olingo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Bassaricyon
Species

Olingos are small procyonids that comprise the genus Bassaricyon, native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m. Olingos closely resemble the kinkajou in morphology and habits, though they lack prehensile tails and extrudable tongues, have more extended muzzles, and possess an anal scent gland. Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of the olingos are actually the coatis.[1] The similarities between kinkajous and olingos are thus an example of parallel evolution.

The status of the various olingos is disputed: only the Bushy-tailed Olingo (Bassaricyon gabbii) is particularly well-known, and it is usually confusingly referred to simply as an olingo. The other species of olingos may prove to be only subspecies of it. Olingos are quite rare in zoos and are often misidentified as kinkajous. An undescribed olingo closely related to B. alleni was discovered in 2006 by Kristofer Helgen at Las Maquinas in the Andes of Ecuador.[2]

References

  1. ^ K.-P. Koepfli, M. E. Gompper, E. Eizirik, C.-C. Ho, L. Linden, J. E. Maldonado, R. K. Wayne (2007). "Phylogeny of the Procyonidae (Mammalia: Carvnivora): Molecules, morphology and the Great American Interchange". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43: 1076–1095. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.10.003.  
  2. ^ Handbook of the Mammals of the World (2009). ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1
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