Large, "lost," or simply unusual, a bevy of prehistoric beasts were brought to life in National Geographic News's most popular paleontology stories of the year.
| 10. Biggest Trilobite Sea Beasts Found ... in Swarms|
The "remarkable," yard-long, horseshoe crab-like arthropods roamed in swarms of up to a thousand animals, a May study suggests.
| 9. "Lost World" of Dinosaurs Survived Mass Extinction?|
An isolated group of dinosaurs may have outlived their doomed relatives by as much as half a million years, an April study suggested.
| 8. A Third of Dinosaur Species Never Existed?|
Young dinosaurs weren't Mini-Me versions of their parents, evidence presented in October suggests—meaning that up to a third of dinosaur species may be misidentified.
| 7. Tiny "T. Rex" Found —150-Pound Species Came First|
No heavier than a small man, Raptorex was Mini-Me to T. rex's dinosaur Dr. Evil. But in this case, the tiny gave rise to the titanic, researchers said in September.
| 6. Five "Oddball" Crocs Discovered, Including Dinosaur-Eater|
A "saber-toothed cat in armor" and a pancake-shaped predator are among five strange, dinosaur-era crocodile cousins discovered in the Sahara, archaeologists announced in November. Meet BoarCroc, PancakeCroc, DuckCroc, RatCroc, and DogCroc.
| 5. AUSTRALIA DINOSAUR PICTURES: 3 New Species Found|
Fossils of a ferocious predator and two giant plant-eaters, named for an Aussie poet and his creations, have been unearthed in the outback, paleontologists announced in July.
| 4. NEW FOSSIL PHOTOS: "Graceful Weasel," Jewel Bug, More|
A long-legged mammal, a sharp-toothed rodent, and an iridescent beetle are among the more than 6,500 Eocene-epoch fossils unearthed in Germany's Messel Pit, scientists announced in August.
| 3. Biggest Snake Discovered; Was Longer Than a Bus|
The 60-million-year-old reptile was also heavier than a car, scientists said in February, adding that the fossil could shed light on climate change.
| 2. Oldest Skeleton of Human Ancestor Found|
There was never a chimp-like missing link between humans and today's apes, according to an October fossil-skeleton study that could rewrite human evolutionary history. Said one scientist, "It changes everything."
| 1. "Missing Link" Found: Fossil Connects Humans, Lemurs?|
The 47-million-year-old, exceptionally preserved primate fossil "Ida," unveiled on May 20, was hailed by some as a major discovery in human evolution.
The publicity frenzy made National Geographic News's brief coverage our most viewed page of the year—and inspired a backlash as some experts, including one here at Nat Geo HQ, suggested Ida was more media event than milestone.
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