2012 is not over, but we can highlight some discoveries that are worthy of the Guinness World Records.
Let's take a look at top ten discoveries of the year.
The monster reptile is the subject of the tenth most visited National Geographic News story of 2012.
Suspected of attacking several people and killing two, the giant reptile was captured alive in the Philippines' Bunawan township (map) in September 2011.
The Guinness listing is based on data by experts including crocodile zoologist Adam Britton, who measured the beast in his home, the new Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Centre.
Astronomers have made a sweet discovery: simple sugar molecules floating in the gas around a star some 400 light-years away, suggesting the possibility of life on other planets.
The August discovery doesn't prove that life has developed elsewhere in the universe—but it implies that there is no reason it could not. It shows that the carbon-rich molecules that are the building blocks of life can be present even before planets have begun forming.
Too far out to be easily spotted by telescopes, the potential unseen planet appears to be making its presence felt by disturbing the orbits of so-called Kuiper belt objects, said Rodney Gomes, an astronomer at the National Observatory of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
Kuiper belt objects are small icy bodies—including some dwarf planets—that lie beyond the orbit of Neptune.
The long-sought particle may complete the standard model of physics by explaining why objects in our universe have mass—and in so doing, why galaxies, planets, and even humans have any right to exist.
A camera-equipped submersible robot filmed species such as barnacles, crabs, anemones, and even an octopus, all of which are mostly colorless and live in utter darkness at depths of 7,875 feet (2,400 meters), according to a January study.
According to an April study, HD 10180—a sunlike star in the southern constellation Hydrus—may have as many as nine orbiting planets, besting the eight official planets in our solar system.
A team of Mexican and Peruvian biologists found this "new heaven of unknown biodiversity" during a 2009-2011 expedition, according to a press statement.
Pictured guarding a brood of eggs in its native northeastern India, the animal above is one of about six potentially new species belonging to a mysterious group of animals called caecilians. What's more, the newfound critters represent an entirely new family of amphibians.
In addition to a still vibrant scene of a king and his retinue, the walls are rife with calculations that helped ancient scribes track vast amounts of time. Contrary to the idea the Maya predicted the end of the world in 2012, the markings suggest dates thousands of years in the future.
Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple—our most popular discovery of 2012—is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya, scientists said in May