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Photos of the Year

From a plastic-munching coral to see-through frogs, here are The Scientist’s favorite images from 2017.

By Katarina Zimmer | December 25, 2017

Plastic feast 

As a somber reminder of the plastic contamination crisis that faces our oceans, scientists found that hard corals frequently consume pieces of plastic because it “tastes” good to them. 

A young coral polyp feasts on a white scrap of plastic.ALEX SEYMOUR, DUKE UNIVERSITY

Fetal fruit bat, unveiled

Scientists used a dissection microscope to get a glimpse of the delicate developing skeleton of a third-trimester fruit bat. 

A darkfield stereomicroscopy image of a fruit bat fetus in its third trimesterRICK ADAMS, UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO, NIKON SMALL WORLD PHOTOMICROGRAPHY COMPETITION

100-million-year-old flower 

One hundred million years ago, a dinosaur might have brushed this prehistoric flower into a pool of tree resin, scientists believe, creating an artistic fossil preserved in amber. 

Tropidogyne pentapteraGEORGE POINAR JR, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Psychedelic symbiosis

The southern bobtail squid Euprymna tasmanica can glow in the dark and shimmer during the day thanks to bioluminescent bacteria inhabiting its light organ. 

A southern bobtail squid (Euprymna tasmanica)MUSEUMS VICTORIA, MARK NORMAN

Feeding time

In the lab, therapeutic antibodies are being engineered to flag cancer cells (orange) for destruction by macrophages (blue) 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHHAMPTON & KOCH INSTITUTE AT MIT, ALI ROGHANIAN

Heart on your sleeve

In the jungle of Amazonian Ecudaor, scientists discovered a new glass frog species, Hyalinobatrachium yaku, which is so transparent its heart is visible from below. 

A juvenile Hyalinobatrachium yakuJAIME CULEBRAS AND ROSS MAYNARD

Rainbow matter

A combination of magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion-weighted tractography creates a detailed image of the small neural fibers that reside in the mouse brain. 

A coronal section of a mouse brain depicting the hippocampus, visualized by diffusion-weighted tractographyNIELS SCHWADERLAPP, DEPARTMENT OF RADIOLOGY, MEDICAL PHYSICS

Pipefish genes

Scientists created a reference genome for Syngnathus scovelli, the gulf pipefish.

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, MARK CURREY

Saltwater survivors

In tribute to the adaptability of life, scientists found that Daphnia pulex can quickly evolve tolerance to road deicing salt when it contaminates its freshwater habitat.  

RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE

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