Photo in the News: New Mammal Discovered in Borneo?

Photo: A composite of a new mammal and a artist's drawing
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December 6, 2005—Creatures hoping to stay incognito in Borneo's rain forests should watch where they step. The mystery animal pictured at top walked right into the limelight when it entered a nighttime camera trap set by World Wildlife Fund researchers.

The scientists say the newly exposed critter, a red-furred creature about the size of a house cat, could be the first new mammal species discovered on the Southeast Asian island in more than a century. The camera caught only two blurred images, which WWF released today. But an artist's rendering (shown at bottom) offers an idea of what the whole animal might look like.

"We showed the photos of the animal to locals who know the wildlife of the area, but nobody had ever seen this creature before," WWF biologist Stephan Wulffraat said in a press statement.

"We also consulted several Bornean wildlife experts—some thought it looked like a lemur, but most were convinced it was a new species of carnivore." Scientists hope to confirm the discovery by eventually catching a live animal.

—Victoria Gilman

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