Walking shark discovered in Indonesia
19 Images

Meet the animals that fascinated scientists in 2013 [Photos]

A shark discovered off the coast of the Indonesian island of Halmahera uses its fins to “walk” along underwater coral reefs, scientists report. It’s the third known species of a walking shark in Indonesia. MORE (Conservation International)
According to Italian researchers, dogs not only communicate happiness with a wag, but they also convey anxiety and potential danger. A wag to the left means something different than a wag to the right. MORE (Getty Images)
The inch-long dung beetle uses the glowing edge of the galaxy to guide it as it rolls its ball of dung across the African landscape, scientists reported in the journal Current Biology. “I would not be surprised if other nocturnal insects” did the same thing, said UC Riverside entomologist Bradley Mullens. MORE (Current Biology)
Scientists investigated a giant plug of earwax pulled from a dead blue whale and discovered a detailed biography of the wild animal’s life in six-month chapters. MORE (Michelle Berman-Kowalewski / Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History)
UC Santa Cruz scientists taught a California sea lion named Ronan to bob her head to the beats of the Backstreet Boys and Earth, Wind and Fire. The research may help shed light on the origins of the brain’s ability to sync sound and movement. MORE  (American Psychological Assn.)

Scientists determined that birds lost their penises because of a biological program that triggers cell death. The discovery may offer clues about both evolution and the molecular biology behind birth defects. MORE

 (Horst Ossinger / AFP-Getty Images)
Shimmering and ethereal, the 8-foot-long oarfish undulates through the water. Rare video footage of a live oarfish was released in 2013. MORE (Mark Banfield / Louisiana State University )
Florida officials struggle to contain an invasion of giant African land snails. The gooey and destructive mollusks grow to 8.5 inches long, feast on 500 different types of plants and nibble on calcium-rich stucco, which they use to construct their cone-shaped shells. MORE (Florida Department of Agriculture)
The bark scorpion possesses one of the most painful stings in the animal kingdom. Its venom can be deadly to small mammals, but the grasshopper mouse has unusual pain receptors that sense the venom as an analgesic. “The grasshopper mouse has developed the evolutionary equivalent of martial arts to use the scorpions’ greatest strength against them,” said Ashlee Rowe, Michigan State University assistant professor of neuroscience and zoology. MORE  (Jillian Cowles / Indiana School of Medicine)
A closer look at the fossil remains of a South African reptile that existed 260 million years ago suggests turtle shells evolved from rib bones. The change forced turtles to come up with a new way to breathe. MORE (Scott Halleran / Getty Images )
The evolutionary and biological seeds for today’s 90-mph fastball were sewn about 2 million years ago, when a variety of evolved anatomical features began to coalesce in early humans, Harvard scientists determined. Our chimp cousins lack most of these anatomical features. MORE (Nature)
A jumbled crowd of fire ants acts like both an elastic solid and a viscous liquid - a property that holds the secrets of self-healing materials. Scientists hope the ants can help them design self-repairing bridges and self-assembling modular robots. MORE (David Hu / Georgia Tech)
Neurons in the brains of Japanese macaques are found to respond to images of snakes more strongly and quickly than they do to images of other objects. The discovery may explain why ophidiophobia ranks among the top fears of humans. MORE (Robert Sullivan / AFP-Getty Images )
The olinguito became the first mammal in the order carnivora to be discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. It was the culmination of a decadelong quest that began in Chicago’s Field Museum in 2003. MORE (Mark Burney / Associated Press)
A plant-eating lizard the size of a German shepherd was named after Jim Morrison, lead singer for the Doors. Barbaturex morissoni flourished about 45 million years ago, nearly 26 million years after dinosaurs became extinct. A cast of part of its jawbone is seen on the right. MORE (Craig Chandler / University Communications)
An online vote was held, the results tallied, and the gelatinous blobfish was declared the ugliest endangered animal on the planet. As a result, the Ziggy-like creature became the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. MORE (Norfanz)
The first known example of working gears that evolved in a living being were discovered in the legs of young planthopper insects. “It’s a wonderful example of the clever solutions that nature comes up with,” said UC Berkeley biochemist Robert Full. MORE (Malcolm Burrows)
Scientists discover four new species of legless lizards in California, including one species that lives beneath the sand dunes near LAX. Though they’re related to snakes, they have several important differences. MORE (James Parham)
A fossil of the oldest known vertebrate animal with a jaw prompts scientists to reconsider the evolutionary family tree. The strange chimera of a fish could unseat the shark as a representative of extremely “primitive” jawed fishes. MORE (Brian Choo / Nature)