EyePoppers: The best science photos of the week
Science is both complex and beautiful. Here, the latest findings in the many worlds of science -- from genetics to chemistry to rocket science -- as told through pictures.

Have you seen this!

Mar. 12, 2013: This is an artist's impression of the egg laying of an Ampelosaurus. A study headed by the Miquel Crusafont Catalan Palaeontology Institute has for the first time documented detailed records of dinosaur egg fossils in the Coll de Nargó archaeological site in Lleida, Spain. Up until now, only one type of dinosaur egg had been documented in the region.
(J.A. Peñas - SINC.)


Mar. 13, 2013: BIOFAB researchers have produced high quality standardized public domain DNA sequences for genetic engineering. Predictability is often used synonymously with "boring," as in that story or that outcome was soooo predictable. For practioners of synthetic biology seeking to engineer valuable new microbes, however, predictability is the brass ring that must be captured. Researchers with the multi-institutional partnership known as BIOFAB have become the first to grab at least a portion of this ring by unveiling a package of public domain DNA sequences and statistical models that greatly increase the reliability and precision by which biological systems can be engineered.
(Vivek Mutalik, BIOFAB)


Mar. 18, 2013: The Wyss Institute's lung-on-a-chip, made using human lung and blood vessel cells, is a device about the size of a memory stick that acts much like a lung in a human body. A vacuum re-creates the way the lungs physically expand and contract during breathing.
(Credit to Wyss Institute, Harvard University)


Mar. 14, 2013: This picture shows a bullfrog and songbird removed from its stomach. American bullfrogs are native to eastern North America but have been transported by people to many other parts of the globe, and other parts of North America, where they have readily established populations and become an invasive alien menace to native ecosystems. In the largest study of its kind to date, the stomach contents of over 5,000 invasive alien American bullfrogs from 60 lakes and ponds on southern Vancouver Island were examined to identify the native and exotic animals that they had preyed upon.
(Stan A. Orchard)


Mar. 20, 2013: Splenium of the Corpus Callosum: This is a white matter fiber bundle that supports visual orienting in typically developing infants and may be implicated in the early development of autism spectrum disorders. Infants at 7 months of age who go on to develop autism are slower to reorient their gaze and attention from one object to another when compared to 7-month-olds who do not develop autism, and this behavioral pattern is in part explained by atypical brain circuits.
(Jason Wolff, Ph.D., UNC)


Mar. 19, 2013: This image show a close up of Cystomastacoides kiddo, named after Beatrix Kiddo, a protagonist from Tarantino's "Kill Bill." Parasitoid wasps of the family Braconidae are known for their deadly reproductive habits. Most of the representatives of this group have their eggs developing in other insects and their larvae, eventually killing the respective host, or in some cases immobilizing it or causing its sterility. Three new species of the parasitoid wasp genus Cystomastacoides, recently described in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research, reflect this fatal behavior.
(Buntika Butcher and Donald L. J. Quicke)


New experiments at the Linac Coherent Light Source, an X-ray free-electron laser, took an unprecedented look at the way carbon monoxide molecules react with the surface of a catalyst in real time. This image relates to a paper that appeared in the March 15, 2013, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by Martina Dell'Angela at University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues was titled, "Real-Time Observation of Surface Bond Breaking with an X-ray Laser."
(Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)


Mar. 13, 2013: This is an artist's impression of one of the SPT-discovered sources based on observations by ALMA and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The massive central galaxy (in blue, seen by HST) bends the light from a more distant galaxy that's bright in submillimeter wavelengths, forming a ring-like image of the background galaxy, which is observed by ALMA (red). alaxies have been experiencing vigorous bursts of star formation from much earlier in cosmic history than previously thought, according to new observations by a Caltech-led team.
(Y. Hezaveh)


Mar. 12, 2013: This image shows Osedax japonicus, an adult female exposed from a bone. How do bone-eating worms reproduce? A new study by Norio Miyamoto and colleagues from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology sheds light on this question through a detailed observation of the postembryonic development and sexual maturation of Osedax worms, also known as "zombie worms."
(Norio Miyamoto/Naturwissenschaften)


Mar. 18, 2013: The male Pectinivalva minotaurus has two kinds of shell-like scent scales on the abdomen to woo the female. Researchers Robert Hoare (Landcare Research, New Zealand) and Erik van Nieukerken (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands) have named new moths after the Minotaur of Greek mythology and the legendary Italian philanderer Giacomo Casanova in a study of the evolution of southern pigmy moths.
(Landcare Research and Naturalis Biodiversity Center)


Feb. 4, 2013: A scanning electron micrograph of a squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. The cell has been frozen and split open to reveal its nucleus.
(Anne Weston, LRI, CRUK)


Jan. 31, 2013: Biomineral crystals found in a sea urchin tooth. Geologic or synthetic mineral crystals usually have flat faces and sharp edges, whereas biomineral crystals can have strikingly uncommon forms that have evolved to enhance function.
(Pupa U.P.A. Gilbert and Christopher E. Killian; University of Wisconsin-Madison/LiveScience)


Jan. 31, 2013: An artist's impression of auroras at the magnetic pole of a brown dwarf. Failed stars can emit detectable radio waves at much cooler temperatures than previously expected, according to new research. The discovery could help astronomers understand how these so-called "brown dwarfs" generate a magnetic field. Some scientists think a faster rotation makes the magnetic field stronger.
(Hallinan et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF/LiveScience)


Jan. 31, 2013: The image is the result of fiber tractography from diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. It illustrates the white matter of the brain, or in other words, its structural connections. The red smooth surface represents a glioblastoma tumor.
(Maxime Chamberland, David Fortin, and Maxime Descoteaux; Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab/LiveScience)


Feb. 5, 2013: Bright areas surrounding darker oval nuclei denote the location of mitochondria in the stained cells of fruit fly ovaries. Brown and Indiana researchers have traced the genetic and biochemical roots of a disease that arose in flies from an incompatibility between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes.
(Rand lab/Brown University)


Jan. 31, 2013: Cognitive Computing researchers at IBM are developing a new generation of "neuro-synaptic" computer chips inspired by the organization and function of the brain. For guidance into how to connect many such chips in a large brain-like network, they turn to a "wiring diagram" of the monkey brain as represented by the CoCoMac database.
(Emmett McQuinn, Theodore M. Wong, Pallab Datta, Myron D. Flickner, Raghavendra Singh, Steven K. Esser, Rathinakumar Appuswamy, W)


Jan. 31, 2013: From a surrealist view of a sea urchin's tooth to a trippy clamshell, the world's most stunning science images of the year have been released. The natural world is filled with gorgeous creatures, strange processes and mysterious structures hidden to the naked eye. The winners of the 2012 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, announced today (Jan. 31), make that beauty visible in stunning imagery revealed in photographs, interactive videos, simulations and even computer games.
(Kai-hung Fung, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital (Hong Kong)/LiveScience)


Jan. 31, 2013: Cells proliferating in an intestinal tumor.
(Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute)


Feb. 4, 2013: According to this study, nitric oxide not only damages neurons (shown here in green), the gaseous molecule also blocks the brains ability to self-repair.
(Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute)


Feb. 1, 2013: Don't let his pudgy appearance fool you the San Diego Zoo's panda cub Xiao Liwu is getting buff, according to his vets. The baby bear apparently has been slimming down and gaining muscle in his legs from climbing around his new exhibit on view to the public.
(Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo/LiveScience)


Dec. 3, 2012: A map of intensities merged using the CrystFEL software suite from almost two hundred thousand diffraction patterns obtained from in vivo grown crystals of Trypanosoma brucei cathepsin B. This map is used to synthesize the three-dimensional molecular structure of the enzyme.
(Karol Nass, CFEL)


Dec. 3, 2012: This is a micro-CT image of mouse skeleton, showing excessively mineralized lesions (in red) along the spinal column and sternum (breastbone).
(Western University)


Nov. 29, 2012: This shows an epithelial tumor (in green) implanted in a fly host.
(M. Milán lab, IRB Barcelona/Mariana Muzzopappa)


Dec. 3, 2012: Once completed, three hillslopes side by side will make up the Landscape Evolution Observatory.
(UA College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture)


Dec. 4, 2012: Looking back on the Universe's history for a specific patch of the sky observed by Herschel and Keck to reveal many previously unseen starburst galaxies.
(Hubble images: NASA, ESA; ESA: C. Carreau and C. Casey, University of Hawai'i; COSMOS field: ESA/Herschel/SPIRE/HerMES Key Progr)


Dec. 3, 2012: These are endothelial cells derived by indirect lineage conversion from human fibroblasts (skin cells). Cell nuclei are in blue; proteins that are hallmarks of endothelial cells are green and red.
(Salk Institute for Biological Studies)


Dec. 3, 2012: This astronaut photo of Super Typhoon Bopha was taken on Sunday, Dec. 2 from the International Space Station, by Astronaut Ford as the Category 4 storm bore down on the Philippines with winds of 135 mph.


Dec. 3, 2012: Image of the wing margin tissue of a wild-type and Njigsaw mutant larva.
(Shinya Yamamoto)


Dec. 3, 2012: Artist's impression of an active volcano on Venus. Results from a long-term study of Venus find evidence of a clear injection of sulphur dioxide into its upper atmosphere. One possible interpretation is that volcanic activity increased the sulphur dioxide component of the upper atmosphere, although an alternative is that a change in atmospheric circulation dredged up the gas.


Dec. 4, 2012: A team of interdisciplinary researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed a new method for significantly increasing the heat transfer rate across two different materials. By sandwiching a layer of ultrathin nanoglue between copper and silica, the research team demonstrated a four-fold increase in thermal conductance at the interface between the two materials.


Oct. 15, 2012: Penn researchers find a new way of combining the structural color and superhydrophobicity found in butterfly wings. This drop of water sits on a wafer made with their process.
(Advanced Functional Materials)


Oct. 19, 2012: Micro-particles of lactose (milk particles) are traped in self-organized structures made from the thin film metal. The scale bar represents 4 micrometers.
(Khattiya Chalapat)


Oct. 12, 2012: An artist's rendering of a colliding wind binary.
(NASA/C. Reed)


Oct. 18, 2012: The steaming lava lake in a vent near the summit of Hawaii's Mount Kilauea recently hit its highest level since the vent opened in 2008, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
(U.S. Geological Survey.)


Oct. 19, 2012: An artistic rendering of a superparticle formed from self-assembling nanorods.
(Dustin S. LaMontagne)


Oct. 18, 2012: It's official: A giant, marine reptile that roamed the seas roughly 150 million years ago is a new species, researchers say. The animal, now named Pliosaurus funkei, spanned about 40 feet (12 meters) and had a massive 6.5-foot-long (2 m) skull with a bite four times as powerful as Tyrannosaurus rex.
(Atlantic Productions)


Oct. 11, 2012: Fuxianhuia protensa, a 520 million-year-old fossil from China discovered to contain a preserved brain.The fossilized brain, found in an extinct arthropod from China, looks very similar to the brains of today's modern insects, said study researcher Nicholas Strausfeld, the director of the Center for Insect Science at the University of Arizona.


Oct. 12, 2012: For the first time, scientists have made a 3-D map of sea ice in eastern Antarctica using helicopters and a special, autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
(AUV team/Australian Antarctic Division)


Oct. 18, 2012: The San Diego Zoo's 11-week-old giant panda cub has arrived at his "awkward toddler stage," taking his first clumsy baby steps, veterinarians at the zoo said.
(Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo)


Oct. 16, 2012: Warm ocean currents off the coast of Southern California delivered a surprise to a couple of squid fishermen this past weekend.A female argonaut ? an octopus also called a paper nautilus ? turned up in their bait box, The Daily Breeze reported. The men recognized the rare find and turned it over to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, said Kiersten Darrow, the aquarium's research curator.
(Gary Florin, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.)


Oct. 18, 2012: A mouse brain contains a glioma (green), a form of brain tumor, three weeks after being injected with a virus.
(Dr. Eric Bushong)


May 3, 2012: For water striders, evolved antennae mean more sex. The dimorphic antennae are highlighted with different shades of blue in each sex. The male's antennal grasping traits are highlighted in purple.



May 13, 2012: The discovery of plant proteins involved in seed oil production (stained blue) in thale cress plants could boost biofuel production.

(Eve Syrkin Wurtele, Iowa State)


May 14, 2012: A close-up look at thale cress plant proteins.
(Eve Syrkin Wurtele and Micheline Ngaki/Iowa State University)


May 7, 2012: Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid monitor a chicken's brain.



May 16, 2012: A closeup of a synthetic-DNA-based product that could help treat heart disease.

(Cardium Therapeutics)


May 10, 2012: In the future, smartphones will have built-in projectors.

(Fraunhofer IOF)


May 10, 2012: The mini-LED projector consists of an array of hundreds of tiny microprojectors.

(Fraunhofer IOF)


May 9, 2012: Biosensors that sense low exygen and glow green could lead to new treatments for tuberculosis.

(Robert Abramovitch)


May 16, 2012: Doctors delivery gene-therapy products directly to the heart.

(Bryan Christie, Cardium Therapeutics)


May 7, 2012: The human immune system in action. This colored scanning electron microscope image shows a white blood cell (dyed red) in the act of destroying tuberculosis bacteria (yellow). The bacteria are surrounded by the cell membrane of the scavenger cell, then drawn inside and rendered harmless ideally, forever.

(MPI for Infection Biology/Volker Brinkmann)

human brain neuros

Mar. 29, 2012: Grid structure of the human brain: a major bundle of front-to-back paths rendered in purples that cross paths from the cerebral cortex, shown in orange and yellow. These data were obtained in the new MGH-UCLA 3T Connectom Scanner as part of the NIH Blueprint Human Connectome Project.

(MGH-UCLA Human Connectome Project)


Mar. 29, 2012: A detail of a rhesus monkey brain showing the sheet-like, three-dimensional structure of neural pathways that cross each other at right angles -- amazing new images revealed by the NIH Blueprint Human Connectome Project.
(Van Wedeen, M.D., Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital)


Mar. 27, 2012: What happens during a heart attack: on the left are normal, healthy cells that line the coronary artery. On the right are cells from heart attack patients which appear abnormally large, misshapen and with multiple nuclei.


Mar. 25, 2012: Researchers are studying the lungs of mice (pictured) to better understand our inner weapons against allergies.

(David Hill, Ph.D., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania)


Mar. 16, 2012: A male fruit fly drinks alcohol-laced food from from a tube. Researchers are finding that sexually deprived male fruit flies are driven to alcohol consumption.



Mar. 25, 2012: Scientists are studying social interactions between animals by examining the lice they share.

(Sarah Zohdy)


Mar. 26, 2012: By studying the brain, researchers believe they are finally figuring out the basic mechanics of depression and other mental disorders, discoveries that should open the door to far more effective ways to tackle illnesses that can cripple society.



Mar. 14, 2012: Study of the brainless acorn worm has given scientists clues into the evolutionary biology of our own brains.

(A. Pani)


Mar. 19, 2012: In young solar systems emerging around baby stars, some orbits are more popular than others, resulting in 'planet pile-ups' and 'planet deserts.'



Mar. 21, 2012: Scientists hope to unlock the mysteries of male pattern baldness by studying hair follicles on mice (pictured).

(Dr. Louis Garza and Dr. George Cotsarelis)


Mar. 26, 2012: Researchers are closing in on a chlamydia (pictured, stained red) vaccine.

(Indiana University)


Mar. 14, 2012: A rare fossile find in southwest China has revealed a previously unknown Stone Age people (pictured).

(Peter Schouten)

Guitar String

Dec. 15, 2011: Electromagnetic signals can be detected and amplified almost noiselessly using a guitar-string like mechanical vibrating wire. In the ideal case the method adds only the minimum amount of noise required by quantum mechanics.

(Juha Juvonen)


Dec. 20, 2011: Two planets orbiting a star 950 light-years from Earth are the smallest, most Earth-size alien worlds known, astronomers announced. One of the planets is actually smaller than Earth, scientists say. Read more

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

Naked Mole-Rat

Dec. 16, 2011: Among the strangest mammals around, mole rats are obnoxiously ugly, live exceptionally long, and never get cancer making them a favorite test subject when it comes to medical research. Now scientists are investigating why mole rats feel no pain from acid -- hoping that it could help them better understand and eventually tackle arthritis pain.

(Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine)


Dec. 16, 2011: Ancient cartilaginous fishes, such as sharks and skates, are vertebrates with non-ossified cartilage skeletons. The remarkably displayed cartilage of the little skate skeleton shown here was visualized by Alcian blue staining.

(Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL))

Space Snow Angel

Dec. 6, 2011: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope presents a festive holiday greeting that’s out of this world. The bipolar star-forming region nearly 2,000 light-years from us, called Sharpless 2-106, looks like a soaring, celestial snow angel. The outstretched “wings” of the nebula record the contrasting imprint of heat and motion against the backdrop of a colder medium. 

(NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))

Fish Network

Dec. 16, 2011: This shows a network depicting the top 0.25 percent of relationships in a dataset of abundance levels of bacterial strains that live in the human gut. Each node represents a different bacterial strain, and each edge represents an association between bacterial strains. Edge lengths are proportional to the strength of the relationship between bacterial strains, and the size of each node is proportional to the number of relationships in which that node is involved.

(Andrés Colubri)

Wood Biomass

Dec. 19, 2011: A method developed at Aalto University in Finland makes it possible to use microbes to produce butanol suitable for biofuel and other industrial chemicals from wood biomass.

(Mikko Raskinen)

Capitella perarmata

Dec. 19, 2011: Closeup of Capitella perarmata, a worm that inhabits enriched sediments of the Antarctic seafloor.

(University of Delaware)

Sea Beacon

Dec. 19, 2011: In the laboratory, a Sensorbot flashes out its code. By means of these brilliant blue pulses of light, the spherical undersea robot relays information about its environment. The light code is captured by high-speed cameras, which record and transmit the data for later analysis.

(The Biodesign Institute & Arizona State University)


Dec. 6, 2011: This composite image provided by Lynette Cook and Andrea Ghez via the journal Nature shows an image of the center of our Galaxy from laser-guide-star adaptive optics on the Keck Telescope. More massive black holes have larger event horizons, the region within which even light can not escape.

If a ten billion solar mass black hole resided at the Galactic center, its immense event horizon would be visible (illustrated by the central black disk). The actual black hole at the Galactic center is 2500 times smaller.

(AP Photo)

Gemini Observatory

Dec. 6, 2011: This undated image provided by the Gemini Observatory via the journal Nature shows an artist's conception of stars moving in the central regions of a giant elliptical galaxy that harbors a supermassive black hole.

(AP Photo)

Living Roof Reindeer

Nov. 22, 2011: Entomologist Dave Kavanaugh, dressed as Santa Claus, holds onto Miles, a male reindeer, as they pose for reporters on the Living Roof at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The reindeer will be a part of the Academy's holiday program that will be exhibited until January 16, 2012. The Living Roof Project is an ongoing citizen science program designed to give community members an opportunity to learn about the Academy’s unique roof ecosystem while contributing to important baseline data regarding the many plants, birds, and arthropods that inhabit and utilize the Living Roof’s 2.5 acres of green space.

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Moon

Nov. 16, 2011: The highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created is shown in this photograph by the science team that oversees the imaging system on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The new topographic map shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 100 meters (328 feet). A single measure of elevation (one pixel) is about the size of two football fields placed side-by-side.


Bashed Skull

Nov. 22, 2011: A viciously bashed prehistoric skull from China offers some of the earliest known evidence for violence between humans.

(University of the Witwatersrand)

Lightest Metal

Nov. 18, 2011: A metal developed by a team of researchers from the University of California at Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology is pictured resting on a dandelion fluff without damaging it. The metal, which is about 100 times lighter than styrofoam, is the world's lightest material, according to the team.


Chile Whale Fossil

Nov. 27, 2011: Chile's Paleontological Museum of Caldera, a paleontologist from the museum prepares a whale fossil at the site where many prehistoric whale fossils were discovered in the Atacama desert near Copiapo, Chile. The fossil is enclosed in a plaster jacket to protect it during transport back to the museum.

(AP Photo)

Early Ocean Fishing

Nov. 24, 2011: This photo provided by Sue O'Connor/Australian National University shows an excavation site showing fish bones and hooks at a cave in East Timor. New research published in the journal Science suggests humans were deep-sea fishing 42,000 years ago, much earlier than believed.

(AP Photo/Australian National University, Sue O'Connor)

Mars Rover Lifts

Nov. 26, 2011: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover lifts off from Launch Complex 41at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The rocket will deliver a science laboratory to Mars to study potential habitable environments on the planet.

(AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Rare Amur Tiger

Nov. 21, 2011: A blurry photo was the cause of celebration in China in early November. It was the first Amur tiger—a critically endangered sub-species of the big cat—captured on camera traps in the Wandashan Mountains. The area is considered one of the key places for the endangered Amur tiger population to resettle and breed in northeast China.

(WWF/Dongfanghong Forestry Bureau)

Rhino Horns

Nov. 15, 2011: Customs officials in Hong Kong today seized 33 rhino horns that were smuggled from South Africa. This was the largest number of rhino horns ever seized in Hong Kong and one of the largest single seizures of rhino horn globally.

This past month in South Africa, 19 critically endangered black rhinos were moved from well-known national parks to private land in order to help increase healthy habitat for the rhinos and to keep them safe from poachers.

(WWF/Hong Kong Customs and Excise)

When Rhinos Fly

Nov. 9, 2011: A tranquilized black rhinoceros is seen being transported by helicopter to a waiting vehicle in South Africa's Eastern Cape last week. The helicopter trip is part of a new relocation strategy given a recent surge in poaching.


Hanging in There

Nov. 9, 2011: The rhinos were asleep during their flights, which took the animals between about 1,600 and 3,200 feet (500 and 1000 meters) into the air.


Mars Mission Returns

Nov. 4, 2011: After 520 days, the crew of a European mission to "Mars"—including these two, pictured testing Russian space suits last summer—returned home last week, stepping out of their capsule to much fanfare in Moscow.

(Oleg Voloshin, IBMP)

Red Planet Rover

Nov. 4, 2011: A Mars rover, driven by remote control, explores the sandy surface of the Mars500 "landing site." The room was designed to resemble Gusev Crater, the real-life landing site of NASA's Mars rover Spirit.

(Oleg Voloshin, IBMP)

Lab Rats

Nov. 4, 2011: The Mars500 mission was packed with experiments for the crew, with researchers curious about what was happening to the men's saliva, digestive systems, and muscles, among other things.


Baby Mammoth

Nov. 8, 2011: High-tech scans of two baby mammoths pulled from the Siberian permafrost reveal that one, originally identified as male, was in fact a female. In addition, the scans showed major skeletal differences between the two mammoths, perhaps representing evolutionary change in the mammoth lineage.

A lot of what we've done with mammoths in the past has been done based on dental anatomy, based on what we can see from teeth," study researcher Ethan Shirley of the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology told LiveScience here in Las Vegas at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

(International Mammoth Committee; CT scans by Ford Motor Company, USA, and Centre hospitalier Emile Roux, Le Puy-en-Velay, France.)

artist's reconstruction ancient Tegopelte

Nov. 8, 2011: An artist's rendering of a Tegopelte, a foot-long arthropod that lived 500 million years ago. Researchers suggest that Tegopelte was a fearsome predator or perhaps a quick-moving scavenger, capable of "rapidly skimming across the seafloor" with only a few of its many legs touching the ground at a time.


(Marianne Collins)

Crab eating macaques

Nov. 9, 2011: Crab eating macaques (Macaca fasciularis), an example of an Old World monkey that lives in large, stable multi-male multi-female groups. Scientists believe that early primates transitioned directly from solitary lives to living in large groups, similar to these monkeys. Other social structures, such as harems, emerged later, their research suggests.

(Roy Fontaine)

Galápagos Tortoise and Baby

Oct. 31, 2011: A Galápagos tortoise dwarfs her newborn in this photo released in October by the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia. The hatchling weighed roughly 3 ounces (87 grams) at birth.

The Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living species of tortoise, reaching weights of over 880 lb and lengths of over 5.9 ft. With life spans in the wild of over 100 years, it is one of the longest-lived vertebrates. A captive individual lived at least 170 years.

(AP Photo)

Bright Eyes

Oct. 24, 2011: Reflected light from a camera flash causes a jaguar's eyes to glow in a camera-trap picture taken in the rain forests of Bolivia.

(WCS Bolivia)

Cooking Pot

Oct. 24, 2011: Artifacts from Northern Europe (circa 4,000 B.C.) are thought to have been votive offerings by the earliest farming communities who lived in the area. Chemical analysis of charred food residues preserved on inside of a number of these vessels show they were used for processing freshwater fish, which supplemented their fledgling agricultural economy.

(Anders Fischer)


Oct: 21, 2011: The Manis mastodon was found with an embedded point of bone in its rib, suggested that an early hunter had speared the animal 13,800 years ago.

(Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M)

Holding Hands

Oct. 22, 2011: Two skeletons found in central-northern Italy reveal the couple was buried holding hands some 1,500 years ago. Love endures all ...

(Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Emilia-Romagna)

Fruit Fly Chambers

Oct. 20, 2011: This may look like a terribly wonky Christmas tree, but it's actually a succession of fruit fly egg chambers. The red dots are Wolbachia bacteria, which infect most insect species. The odd thing about a Wolbachia infection is that female insects that carry the bacteria lay four times the eggs as females without an infection.

(Eva M. Fast & Horatio M. Frydman)

Polar Ice

Oct. 13, 2011: NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission comprises the largest airborne research campaign ever flown over Earth’s polar region. The mission is designed to continue critical ice sheet measurements in a period between active satellite missions and help scientists understand how much the major ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica could contribute to sea level rise.

(Michael Studinger/NASA)


Oct. 20: 2011: Several progressively more differentiated fruit fly egg chambers (oldest are at the bottom) that originated from the germaria (most upward pointing structure).

(Eva M. Fast and Horacio M. Frydman)

Cyclops Shark

Oct. 18, 2011: A fetal shark cut from the belly of a pregnant shark caught in the Gulf of California. The shark, which would likely not have survived outside the womb, had only one eye.

(Pisces Fleet Sportfishing)

Blombos Cave

Oct. 13, 2011: The entrance to Blombos Cave, indicated by the white arrow, about 180 miles (300 kilometers) east of Cape Town -- where researchers found a 100,000-year-old workshop used to mix and store reddish pigment ochre indicating primitive art supplies.

(Magnus Haaland)

Abalone Shell

Oct. 13, 2011: Archaeologists in South Africa uncovered two 100,000-year-old abalone shells and assorted bones and stones in the cave that served a toolkits to make some sort of ochre-based compound. The mixture may have been used as a paint or adhesive. It's the oldest evidence of humans making a complex compound, and even the oldest evidence of humans using containers


The Eye

This image shows the smallest cones at the center of the retina, (the fovea). Whenever we direct our gaze at something, for example to read, the image of what we are looking at is formed over these very important cones. The magnification shows a more eccentric retinal location, in which the large bright dots with a dark ring around them are cones, and the surrounding (and far more abundant) smaller spots are rods.

(University of Rochester/Biomedical Optics Express)

Meltwater Ice

A web of cracks in meltwater ice along the edge of Byrd Glacier, Antarctica. This image was taken by John Goodge, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, during an Antarctic expedition.

Goodge and Jeff Vervoort, an isotope geochemist from Washington State University, traveled to Antarctica to collect and analyze rocks in order to build a better picture of the continent hidden beneath the polar ice cap.

(John Goodge/National Science Foundation)


An artist's depiction of a mother and juvenile plesiosaur as they may have looked swimming in the waters of the Southern Ocean roughly 70 million years ago.

The well-preserved fossil skeleton of a juvenile plesiosaur--a marine reptile--was recovered by an American-Argentine research team in Antarctica. The fossil remains represent one of the most-complete plesiosaur skeletons ever found and is thought to be the best-articulated fossil skeleton ever recovered from Antarctica. The creature would have inhabited Antarctic waters during a period when the Earth and oceans were far warmer than they are today.

(Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)

Reef Corals

A red fluorescent variety of staghorn coral (Acropora millepora). In a National Science Foundation-supported study, researchers found that the ability to fluoresce may influence whether or not the coral settle on the reef of their origin or disperse, and go elsewhere.

Staghorn coral (Acropora millepora) were the focus of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported study by Misha Matz, an assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues, to address coral reef connectivity, genetics of physiology and life history traits, and their evolutionary modifications in response to ongoing climate change.

(Mikhail Matz, Joerg Wiedenmann, NSF)


"Engine-driven" supernova explosion, with accretion disk and high-velocity jets. This is the first time astronomers have found a supernova explosion with properties similiar to a gamma-ray burst, but without seeing any gamma rays from it.

Scientists expect the discovery--made using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope--will point the way toward locating many more examples of these mysterious explosions. Radio observations will be a more powerful tool for discovering these kind of supernova in the universe than gamma-ray satellites.

(Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Cattleheart Butterfly

The Amazonian butterfly emerald-patched cattleheart. Researchers from Yale University, supported by the National Science Foundation, are studying the properties of the colors of butterfly wings. Using an X-ray scattering technique, they were able to determine the 3-D internal structure of the scales on the wings of several species of butterflies.

(Richard Prum, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University)


Scientists from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands successfully used a 'genome mining' approach to find and activate a group of genes in the bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. This resulted in the production of a novel antibiotic, seen here, that could lead to new treatments for serious diseases that are rapidly acquiring multi-drug resistance.

(Marco Gottelt)

How Stem Cells Work

Within 24 hours of culturing adult human stem cells on a new type of matrix, University of Michigan researchers were able to make predictions about how the cells would differentiate, or what type of tissue they would become. "We show, for the first time, that we can predict stem cell differentiation as early as Day 1," said Jianping Fu, an assistant professor in mechanical and biomedical engineering.

(Michael T. Yang (University of Pennsylvania))


Sequential still frames from a video filmed at 10,000 fps show a mushroom cloud of sphagnum spores with a "trailing wake" clearly visible. The spores don't move quickly, and are carried by turbulent wind currents to establish colonies many kilometers away. However, spores that are easily kept aloft are also rapidly decelerated in still air; thus, dispersal range depends strongly on release height. 

(Clara Hard, Joan Edwards and Dwight Whitaker)

Saturn's Heartbeat

Saturn's aurora, an ethereal ultraviolet glow which illuminates Saturn's upper atmosphere near the poles, pulses roughly once per Saturnian day, space researchers discovered. The length of a day has been under much discussion since it was discovered that the traditional "clock" used to measure the rotation period of Saturn, a gas giant planet with no solid surface for reference, apparently does not keep good time.

(Jonathan Nichols, NASA, ESA, University of Leicester)


Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silks spun by worms and spiders are a masterpiece of nature hard to replicated in the lab. Tufts University engineers recently built this silk card, which shows diffractive optics entirely constituted by pure silk obtained by pouring silk solution on patterned molds and letting the solution dry and crystallize. The resulting film retains the pattern and is a free-standing optical component so flexible it can be rolled up.

(Fiorenzo Omenetto / Tufts University)


Common household products like detergents and shampoo contain surfactants -- organic compounds that act as detergents. By simulating them on a supercomputer, researchers wash away expensive and slow laboratory work as they design new products. 

(Axel Kohlmeyer, Temple University)

Prostate Cancer's Origin?

A disease's origin doesn't explain the whole story, scientists explained recently. "Luminal" cells are believed to be the origin for prostate cancer, for example, because the disease is characterized by their expansion and the absence of "basal" cells -- the green cells here lining the outside of benign prostate glands. Yet scientists recently found found that basal cells can cause prostate cancer too, proof that histology doesn't always correlate with cellular origins.

(Lab of Owen Witte)


Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silks spun by worms and spiders are a masterpiece of nature hard to replicated in the lab. Tufts University engineers recently built this silk card, which shows diffractive optics entirely constituted by pure silk obtained by pouring silk solution on patterned molds and letting the solution dry and crystallize. The resulting film retains the pattern and is a free-standing optical component so flexible it can be rolled up.

(Fiorenzo Omenetto / Tufts University)


Common household products like detergents and shampoo contain surfactants -- organic compounds that act as detergents. By simulating them on a supercomputer, researchers wash away expensive and slow laboratory work as they design new products. 

(Axel Kohlmeyer, Temple University)

Prostate Cancer's Origin?

A disease's origin doesn't explain the whole story, scientists explained recently. "Luminal" cells are believed to be the origin for prostate cancer, for example, because the disease is characterized by their expansion and the absence of "basal" cells -- the green cells here lining the outside of benign prostate glands. Yet scientists recently found found that basal cells can cause prostate cancer too, proof that histology doesn't always correlate with cellular origins.

(Lab of Owen Witte)

EyePoppers: The best science photos of the week

Science is both complex and beautiful. Here, the latest findings in the many worlds of science -- from genetics to chemistry to rocket science -- as told through pictures.

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