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Short-eared dog? Uncovering the secrets of one of the Amazon’s most mysterious mammals
by Jeremy Hance
Fifteen years ago, scientists knew next to nothing about one of the Amazon’s most mysterious residents: the short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis). Although the species was first described in 1883 and is considered the sole representative of the Atelocynus genus, biologists spent over a century largely in the dark about an animal that seemed almost a myth. But all this changed when veterinarian and researcher, Renata Leite Pitman, embarked on a long-term study of these enigmatic carnivores, even having the good fortune of being guided by a semi-wild short-eared dog named Oso.
"My first thought when I heard about this ghost-like animal was that people must have been mistaking it for a similar-looking species, like a tayra or a jaguarundi," Leite Pitman told mongabay.com. "So I looked into the literature on the short-eared dog and found it was full of contradictions. One book had it occurring in this region, the other didn’t. One said the species was diurnal, and the other nocturnal. This mismatching information made me very curious,"
In fact, here was a good-sized mammal—a carnivore nonetheless—that was totally unheard of outside the Amazon and even little-known by locals there.
…spending my day off comparing The X-files to Seinfeld…
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WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ALIENS?!
David: The final design for Freddy was based on a pepperoni pizza. I was at a restaurant one night, and I was having pizza and I was just kind of deep in thought. I started playing around with the cheese, putting it around the pepperoni, and actually made Freddy’s face on the pizza.
David Miller on what inspired his makeup for Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984