New tapir Courtesy Fabricio R. Santos

A new species of tapir, has been identified by scientists in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, unknown to science but known to local indigenous tribes, is the smallest of the five known species of living tapirs. The scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani. It is the first tapir discovery since 1865. Its skull differs in shape and features from those of all other living tapirs, having darker hair, a lower mane, and a broader forehead than its well known cousin. The first known specimen collected for this species of tapir remained unidentified for almost 100 years. The collector was Theodore Roosevelt, who was President of the United States from 1901–1909. Roosevelt remarked in 1914 that this specimen “…was a bull, full grown but very much smaller than the animal I had killed. The hunters said that this was a distinct kind.”

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