Science has hit quite a jackpot this year. Here is the list of the top 10 discoveries of 2009, compiled by National Geographic News in a recent article.
At number 10 comes the discovery of an ultra-rare megamouth shark, which at 13-feet long, was caught on March 30 by mackerel fishers off the city of Donsol in Philippines.
AdvertisementBut, the 1,102-pound (500-kilogram) shark was butchered for a shark-meat dish called kinuout.
At number 9 comes the finding that sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago.
A recent analysis of thousands of teeth examined from collections in Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History has determined that ancient peoples of southern North America went to "dentists"-among the earliest known-to beautify their chompers with notches, grooves, and semiprecious gems.
At number 8 comes the discovery that nine giant snakes could be on the verge of causing ecological catastrophe if they establish themselves in almost one-third of the US.
At number 7 is the finding that the world's biggest snake was a massive anaconda-like beast that slithered through steamy tropical rain forests about 60 million years ago.
The discovery was confirmed by fossils found in northeastern Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine, which indicate that the reptile was at least 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed 2,500 pounds.
At number 6 is the discovery of a "ghost ship" dating back to the gold rush-era.
With boots thrown hastily on deck and cooking utensils scattered, the last moments of the crew aboard the gold rush-era paddleboat A.J. Goddard are preserved in the ship's recently found wreck.
At number 5 is the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor, which reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago.
At number 4 is the discovery of rare quail from the Philippines that was long believed to be extinct.
At number 3 is the finding of a new type of cloud, which is choppy in shape. They were photographed over Cedar Rapids, Iowa, US.
At number 2 is the finding of a fish with transparent head that was seen alive for the first time in the deep water off California's central coast.
At number 1 is the discovery of a 47-million-year-old, exceptionally preserved primate fossil "Ida", which bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans and their more distant relatives such as lemurs.
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