Six New Tiny Anteater Species Found—Hiding in Plain Sight
Tree-dwelling and nocturnal, silky anteaters of Central and South America have often eluded scientists—until now.
The first clue was the fur.
While studying silky anteaters in Brazil, biologist Flávia Miranda "began to see differences between the colors of the population of the Amazon and the Atlantic forest," she recalls.
There was just one recognized species—Cyclopes didactylus—but she wondered if these little-known tree-dwellers might qualify as two separate species.
Miranda, of Brazil's Federal University of Minas Gerais, and colleagues went on 10 expeditions in Brazil and Suriname in search of silky anteaters over a decade, as well as scoured natural history museums for additional biological samples. (Read how new Amazon species are discovered every other day.)
By the end, the team wound up with DNA samples from 33 wild anteaters and anatomical information collected