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The Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species

(Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In the dark, Kristofer Helgen and a group of scientists peered up into the treetops of the Ecuadorian cloud forest. Staring back at them was a furry, four-legged creature. Could it be the mysterious, wild olinguito?

Helgen had been studying the olingo, a relative of raccoons, for years. As he examined their pelts and skulls in museums, he noticed differences in a few. Thro
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Millbrook Press
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4.05  · 
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 ·  83 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*Thanks to netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This book tells the true story of the new discovery of the cutest animal called the olinguito. Only thanks to Kristofer Helgen and a group of scientist's perseverance to find the animal in the South American cloud forest.

This is a great read for older elementary children and can be adapted for a younger audience as well. It's full of color photos and really a book for anyone who enjoys learning about
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am truly enjoying Sandra Markle's The Search for Olinguito and I especially appreciate how the involved and arduous process of discovering and verifying the Olinguito as a new racoon family species is so meticulously and in minute detail, but still always engagingly and evocatively recounted (with words simple enough for easy comprehension, but also without too much scientific jargon and thankfully without also ever talking down to the intended audience, older children above the age of eight o ...more
Karen Witzler
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
In 2013, the discovery of a new species of mammal was announced: Bassaricyon neblina, the olinguito. This is the story of how scientific evidence was amassed beginning with a researcher's analysis of pelts in a natural history museum to his quest for verification at other such museums around the world and culminating in a journey to the animal's natural habitat in the cloud forests of Ecuador and Columbia. Sandra Markle brings this great scientific detective story to life using text and photos t ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is wonderful! It's both a fascinating look at a new species in the raccoon family as well as a great example of the scientific process at work! It carefully explains what led Kristofer Helgen to suspect there was an unknown species; he was studying pelts and skulls of olingos as he tried to determine if all olingos were the same species or if they consisted of different species. Then he noticed that some pelts were distinct from the pelts of olingos he had been studying...they had reddish f ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
This book describes the process that one scientist and his team went through to confirm the discovery of a new species of animal in Central and South America.

The content and format of the book is very similar to the books in the Scientists in the Field series, but a bit shorter (in size of the book and number of pages).

The narrative is comprehensive enough to convey the years of effort that went into discovering and then confirming and reconfirming the data to prove that the Olunguito were inde
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I must have missed the press announcement about the discovery of this little critter, because I'd never heard of it until I read this book. Markle takes us through the steps discoverer Kristofer Helgen went through to find the animal and prove it was a separate species to the satisfaction of his peers. DNA really helped here. This guy is part of the raccoon family, which is why he's so cute. The exciting thing about this book, which the author noted at the end, is that it demonstrates that there ...more
Sharon Tyler
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Search for the Olinguito: Discovering a New Species by Sanda Markle is a non fiction book for children. In 2013 scientists announced the discovery of the olinguito, an adorable relative of raccoons living among treetops in cloud forests of Central and South America. It was the first new mammal species in the Carnivora order to be discovered in 35 years. Learn how scientists solved the mystery piece by piece over more than ten years, traveling to museums all over the world to look at similar ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
The Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species, is a wonderful non-fiction, science book for children, but I also enjoyed reading about the process. When a scientist wanted to find out more information about the Olingo species, he came across pelts and skulls for an animal that had been labelled an Olingo, but was definitely different enough that he felt it was a new species. When DNA is tested, it is different and when he thinks he might have a new species he continues with his investigati ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jnf-500
The author, Sandra Markle, is a well-known author of science books, especially animal science books for children. This is a fascinating look at how the zoologists discovered this before unknown South American species (unknown to the scientific community, that is, not unknown to the people who lived in the area). It was also interesting to read about the years long process it took to have the olinguito accepted as a distinct species by the rest of the scientific community. The mostly color photos ...more
Stacy Books
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Search for Olinguito immerses readers in the adventurous world of natural scientists and new discoveries. This nonfiction text follows scientist Kristofer Helgen and his team to South America after a hunch tells Helgen that he may be close to discovering a new species. Olingos—part of the raccoon family—were previously thought to be only one species; however, after his travels, Helgen proves that the olinguito is an entirely new species, and lives only in very remote habitats known as cloud ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: STEM and animal requests
Recommended to June by: and Edward Sullivan
Tells of the discovery of a new species in the South American cloud forests.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2002, scientist Kristofer Helgen noticed that a type of raccoon he was studying seemed to be different enough from the others that it might be a new species. So, 3 years of studying samples in museums led to DNA testing which confirmed that this was different enough. Now, to find if there are any left in the wild! It took 6 more years in the field of watching, filming, testing samples and having peer review of their findings to prove that Olinguitos are indeed their own species. 11 years from ...more
Katie Simmons
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Search for Olinguito shows us just how hard it is to say that a new species has been found. The Olinguito discovery was 11 (or more) years in the making. First, Kristofer Helgen had to look at what we already knew about Olingo. When things started to look different he had to use his scientific tools to make sure they were different. He knew that this was not going to be enough to publish saying that he made this discovery; he needed to find evidence that they were still alive. With a team, t ...more
A great book about scientists doing important work! A scientist with the Smithsonian National Museum of History, Kristofer Helgen, encountered a mystery when studying South American raccoon-like animals called olingos. Some of his specimens did not accurately match up with the olingo, and so he set about to find answers. In the process, he and his team discovered a new species of animal, which they had to learn about, document and eventually give it a name (the olinguito). Author Sandra Markle t ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at the discovery of a "new" species, one that has lived right under our noses, until one Smithsonian scientist, started to notice something different. Kristofer Helgen announced the discovery in 2013 but it was a 10 year process from initial questions to the final surety.

Markle does a wonderful job of explaining just how careful and lengthy this process was and the steps along the way, including the research itself, explanations of the cloud forest ecosystem, the classificatio
Jenny Ashby
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Finding a new species of animal? I was hooked before I even began! The story of the olinguito begins over a decade ago with a scientist looking at pelts and skulls in a museum. He notices that some of them look different from the other olingos with which they are stored. Through careful scientific comparison at over 75 museums around the world along with DNA analysis, he is able to prove that there was an entirely separate member of the raccoon family no one had ever identified before. But does ...more
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With photographs and a narrative just right for children, Markle describes the discovery of a new species of animals, the olinguito, in the raccoon family. After finding pelts for an animal that was supposed to be another animal, a scientist realizes the pelt is different and must be a new species. To truly be sure, DNA is tested and the pelt is from an unknown species. The next question is whether the animal still exists. A team of scientists goes to Ecuador to the location where a pelt was fou ...more
Jessica Brown
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, jnf, science
It's always so humbling to be reminded of the fact that this planet has so much that is unknown and unexplored and undiscovered. This book gives kids a great look at the process that goes into discovering a new species, and it just so happens that this species is REALLY cute. Definitely recommend to kids ages 6+ (the young ones probably can't read it, but they could understand and appreciate it if it's read to them).
Debbie Tanner
This is a very interesting story about how scientists discovered a new species of animal. The fact that olinguitos are adorable is going to make the story even more appealing to readers.
Edward Sullivan
An engaging look at the scientific investigations that led to the first new mammal species in the Carnivora order to be discovered in 35 years. A relative of raccoons, olinguitos live among the treetops in cloud forests of Central and South America.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story of scientific research in action. I remember seeing Ringo at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, labeled as an Olingo. Fascinating.
A new mammal has been discovered! The photos are wonderful and the text is full of easy to understand science terms.
Note: I received a digital galley of this book through NetGalley.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This little book is a treat for the readers, or at least any of them interested in science or animals. It's about the search for an elusive type of animal which might be a previously unknown species. Samples had been found in the past, but had been assumed to be members of another species. A zoo had even had one of these odd little creatures, which somehow would never breed.
The quest for this little "olinguito" creatures teaches the reader a lot about discovery and the lengths that scientists mu
Becky B
Over a decade ago, Kristofer Helgen was researching olingos to see if there were different species and stumbled upon several specimens which were starkly different from all the other olingos. This is the story of his further research and eventual journeys into the cloud forests of South America to see if this new animal, an olinguito, was indeed different from olingos and if it was still alive.

This is a fascinating look at just how long it can take from first suspicion of finding a new animal to
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating look into what it takes to officially document a new animal species. Readers and listeners my be shocked to learn that there are many creatures in our own backyard that are yet be discovered. Sandra Markle did a fantastic job retelling the work of Kristopher Helgen and his research team in their quest to find the olinguito.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fall-2019
The olinguito, a new species in the raccoon family, lives in the South American Cloud Forest. I prefer the animals' nick name - Night Monkey! I assume all family reunions are held in the evening for this nocturnal crowd.
Interesting look at the effort to prove a new species existence and the quest to find living specimens. Some of the stuffed pelts are creepy, but the photos of the living olinguitos, especially the baby, are pretty darn cute.
Clare Rossetter
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written scientific text that includes supporting photographs. The idea of a new species being found is exciting and the process is one that takes patience and persistence. Upper elementary students will enjoy this glimpse of a scientific process and the discovery of a new animal.
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Children's Books: July-August 2017: The Search for Olinguito 14 19 Jul 27, 2017 12:05AM  
Sandra Markle is the author of more than two hundred children's books, which have won numerous awards, including Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, IRA/CBC Children's Choice, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Books for Children, NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended, and ALA Notable Books for Children. She lives in Lakewood Ranch, Florida and frequently travels to schools sharing her program "Sandra Markle's Boo ...more

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