BBC Future

2012: The year in scientific discoveries

  • Lost and found
    In July, two separate teams at the Large Hadron Collider said they had each independently confirmed the existence of a particle that could be the Higgs boson. (Copyright: Cern)
  • Latest monkey
    Researchers in DR Congo found a new species of monkey. Known locally as the lesula, the monkey lives in an area isolated by two major rivers. (Copyright: Plos One)
  • Hello little froggy
    A new species of frog – thought to be the world’s smallest – was discovered in Papua New Guinea. Paedophryne amanuensis grows to only 7mm. (Copyright: Louisiana State University)
  • Underground riches?
    Africans could be sitting on a massive, untapped resource of hidden water, said scientists in April. Huge aquifers could help irrigate more land. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Prehistoric penguin
    The remains of the five-foot Kairuku grebneffi penguin were found in New Zealand. It went extinct 25 million years ago. (Copyright: Chris Gaskin/Geology Museum, Univ. of Otago)
  • (Not) seeing is believing
    Cloaking devices may no longer be science fiction. For the first time, an object has been rendered “invisible” to microwaves - but not the human eye. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Frozen Mercury
    Earth is not the only watery world – in November, scientists proved there are billions of tonnes of ice at the North Pole of the planet Mercury. (Copyright: Reuters)
  • New human
    A new species of human has been discovered from fossils found in Kenya. Homo rudolfensis lived two million years ago, and had a relatively large brain. (Copyright: SPL)
  • Just like Earth?
    Over 40 light years away, HD 40307g is a "super Earth" planet orbiting a star at around the right distance to suggest it could have liquid water on it. (Copyright: PA)
  • Ancient treasure
    This shining horse head was unearthed by Bulgarian archaeologists from an ancient Thracian tomb. It is believed to date from the fourth or third century BC. (Copyright: Reuters)
From a new species of monkey to mysterious new planets, scientists were kept busy in 2012.

More amazing image galleries of the year:

A year in space

The year in technology

People of the year

The year in weather

The year in wildlife

Weird and wonderful

Future visions


New frontiers

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