It's science! Very, very cute science. The scientific publishing group Nature has put together a video of the 10 cutest scientific discoveries of the year.
We here at Speaking of Science have watched the above video more times than we'd care to admit, and we can confirm: These animals are, indeed, the cutest. Though our favorite baby otter didn't qualify, since her tale has yet to inspire any published scientific research.
Here are the animals (and their studies) mentioned, in case you want to know more:
Marmosets can learn new skills by watching other monkeys. For the first time, researchers showed that the little guys can even follow along when their instructors are only present on a video screen.
A study found that dogs actually line themselves up with the Earth's magnetic field when they do their business. This research got lots of attention when it won an Ig Noble Award -- an honor given to studies that make people laugh, then think.
Why are its arms all spiraled up? No one knows, because this is the first time we've seen such behavior in a Dumbo octopus. Maybe he's just shy? You can see a more typical (though unusually large) member of the species here.
Scientists found 14 new species of "dancing" frogs in India, doubling the number of species known to exhibit such behavior. Their habitats are too loud to rely on mating calls, so they stretch their legs out oh-so-sensuously instead.
According to a new study, anole lizards don't just float from one island in the Caribbean to another by natural means anymore. They're now stowing away on trade ships and recreational vehicles that make the trip, and that's changing their demographics.
Not actually animals, but they might as well be insects. These tiny robots act like a swarm of bugs. Just like a hoard of individually dumb termites, the mass of bots can work together to create intricate shapes.
Scientists discovered five new species of toupee monkeys -- ones that had previously been misidentified as variations on existing species.
3. AHHH SPIDERS
The eyes have it. Third place in the Nokia Small World photo contest, that is. This image shows the eyes of a jumping spider at 20 times magnification.
Remember that time scientists dressed up a tiny robot so it could do undercover research as a baby penguin? Yeah. The undisguised robot stressed out the penguins it was meant to monitor, but once it was dressed up, some of them even tried to interact with it.
It turns out that koalas may cuddle up to trees to keep cool. Thermal imagining revealed that they pick trees that are cooler than the ambient air when they go in for a squeeze. An adorable, adorable squeeze.