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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet the World's Newest Cat, the Sunda Clouded Leopard

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn
Photo: Lazy Lizard Tales
Few things excite the blogosphere, or human beings for that matter, as much as the discovery of a new species. Especially a strikingly beautiful mammalian one. As such, the news of the Sunda Leopard's discovery -- the "world's newest cat", according to the BBC -- wasted no time in spreading like wildfire (the proverbial kind, of course, that would in no way endanger the new cat's habitat). It's not hard to see why:
It's gorgeous -- if also a little eerily extraterrestrial in this photo:
The BBC reports on its discovery, and the unusual fact that the cat has two distinct forms:
The "newest" cat species described to science, the Sunda clouded leopard, actually exists in two distinct forms, scientists have confirmed. This big cat is so enigmatic that researchers only realised it was a new species - distinct from clouded leopards living elsewhere in Asia - in 2007. The first footage of the cat in the wild to made public was only released last year.
Genetic analysis has confirmed that the cats living in Sumatra and Borneo are indeed different forms. So that makes two more additions to the clouded leopard family, which is generally considered to be the most elusive of all of the big cats. See here: worlds-newest-can-sunda.jpg
Perhaps he'll be more willing to hang out now that he's received his due recognition from the scientific community.