So, here are the rules: To answer, follow us on Twitter and tweet at us with the hashtag #mysteryanimal. For example:
Hey @PopSci, is the #mysteryanimal a baboon?
And then I might say "if you think that's a baboon, perhaps you are the baboon!" But probably not, because this is a positive environment and all guesses are welcome and also this is not a very common animal so guess whatever you want!
The first person to get it right wins! We'll retweet the answer from @PopSci, and also update this post so your amazing animal knowledge will be permanently etched onto the internet. Show your kids! Your dumb kids who thought that was a baboon!
Update: And the winner is...@MeganIsTubular, who correctly guessed that this is a tufted deer! The tufted deer, native to mountainous central China and a bit of Tibet, isn't closely related to any other deer, though it does look quite a lot like the water deer and musk deer. In fact, its closest relative is the muntjac, but the tufted deer is interesting all on its own. A very shy and elusive creature, the tufted deer lives way up high in elevation, just about at the tree line, and is most active at dusk and dawn (this behavior pattern is called "crepuscular").
Its most obvious identification signs are its namesake tuft, like a messy mohawk, and the small tusks that can be seen in males. There's a distinct lack of information about the tufted deer, thanks to its fear of humans and tendency to swiftly hop away whenever it sees one, so we don't really know the purpose of the tusks. Hi tufted deer!
That animal is definitely an evolutionary remnant of mammal physiology and is truly fascinating. This is one of the few known species of Musk Deer, in the family Moschidae. Though not considered true deer because of their lack of antlers, none the less, I think these guys are freakin awesome!