We analysed two camera-trap photos of an alleged new species of carnivore from Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia. Comparisons of the features seen in the photos with morphological features of 17 similar-looking species from the region suggest that the animal is not a new species of carnivore, as had been widely speculated, but is most likely a rarely seen species of flying squirrel, probably Aeromys thomasi. We advocate continuing adherence to the formalities of species description based on actual specimens and a formal review process. Even informal announcements about possible new species based on photographs or other indirect evidence should adopt a cautionary approach. All the possibilities should be eliminated using any available means, such as comparative morphometrics and assessments of body shape and posture, and coat colour.
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National Museums Scotland
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© 2010 Mammal Society/Blackwell Publishing
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