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100 Best Science Photos of 2018

MRI beatboxing

beatbox, mri, composite

(Image credit: Timothy Greer, Signal Analysis Interpretation Laboratory)

In order to produce convincing drum beats and other percussive sounds when beatboxing, the vocal tract has to wriggle and snap itself into odd contortions. Doctors were able to watch these muscles in action when they asked several beatboxers to perform their craft while inside an MRI machine, with awe-inspiring results.

Bubbles can spread baceria

A bubble contaminated with bacteria (shown in the bottom panel) lasts much longer than a clean bubble.

(Image credit: Image courtesy Lydia Bourouiba and Stephane Poulain, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.)

Bubbles may look pretty, but they can serve as effective launching pads for bacteria. In a November study, scientists found that bacteria can manipulate the physics of bubbles, making them last longer without popping. But by sticking around longer, the bubble's surface thins, so when they do pop, they create more droplets that are launched into the air at faster rate than clean bubbles. The photo above shows a clean bubble (top) and a bacteria-contaminated bubble (bottom).

Animal eyes

animal eyes, Leaf-tailed geckos

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It's not just that leaf-tailed geckos have bizarre-looking eyes. (Case-in-point: The marbled eyeballs often have a background color of gold, silver or tan covered with concentric striations around the pupils.) But what makes these peepers even weirder is how the reptiles clean their gem-like eyeballs: with a quick lick of the tongue.

Lab-grown mini kidneys

(Image credit: Humphreys Lab)

Lab-grown mini organs are nothing new in 2018 (see lab-grown mini placentas), but these mini kidneys have a mind of their own — literally. Instead of simply developing into various kidney cells, these organoids sprouted their own brain and muscle cells, too. In the image above, kidney cells are shown in green, and brain cells, or neurons, are red.

Giant nesting dinosaur

giant oviraptorosaurs nesting

(Image credit: Zhao Chuang)

How did the giant dinosaur keep its eggs warm? By sitting on them, just like their modern-day relatives birds, of course. But the equation changes a bit when you consider that these dinos, known as oviraptorosaurs, weighed as much as rhinos. In other words, more than enough to crush an egg to smithereens. New research from May, however, revealed that the massive dinos laid their eggs in a doughnut-like circle, which allowed them to plop down without crushing the eggs.

Pompeii man decapitated

(Image credit: Parco Archeologico di Pompei)

Think you had a bad day? This Pompeii man has you beat: In May, archaeologists excavated the remains of a man who likely died when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Oh, and then a massive 1-meter-long rock fell on his head, decapitating him.

Mummy juice

Three skeletons and liquid sewage were found inside the black sarcophagus from Alexandria, Egypt.

(Image credit: Courtesy Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. )

Maybe it was the July heat, but when Egyptologists finally cracked open the massive black sarcophagus, the internet was thirsty for a taste of what was inside: namely, what a lot of people started calling "mummy juice" or "bone juice." In truth, that dark red liquid bathing three skeletons was probably just sewage that seeped in over the years. And you definitely should not drink it.

Pooping hippos

(Image credit: Christopher Dutton)

Hippos are ruining the pool party. On a stretch of the Mara River in southwestern Kenya, thousands of hippos converge daily to cool down in the shallow pools. They also poop in the water. Like, a lot. According to a study from 2018, the hippos expel an estimated 9.3 tons (8,500 kilograms) of excrement each day. And although some poop is good for the ecosystem (it provides vital nutrients for smaller creatures), too much poop leaves fish gasping for oxygen, the study found.

Pooping tardigrade

Water bears - tardigrades

(Image credit: Papilio/Alamy)

Live Science's favorite indestructible yet adorable creature, the tardigrade, can apparently add another superlative to its stellar resume: massive poos. Tessa Montague, a recent PhD graduate of Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, posted a video to Twitter this year of a tiny tardigrade expelling a bowel movement about a third the size of its own body, and then squirming away. Montague told Live Science that it doesn't appear that tardigrades poop often, but when they do, they do it up big.

Roundworms bile duct

Doctors in India removed 14 roundworms from a patient's bile duct.

(Image credit: Goal Post Media/SWNS)

If the idea of a single 7-inch worm wriggling instead your body sounds horrifying, try 14 of them. That was the case for a woman in India, who had 14 roundworms squirming inside her bile duct. It's not clear how the woman got infected, but roundworm eggs can be found on contaminated fruits and vegetables, an expert told Live Science. Once doctors removed the worms, the woman felt much better.