5 Most Incredible Discoveries of 2014
The world never ceases to amaze—and this past year didn't disappoint
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2014 6:01 AM CST
This undated artist rendering provided by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History shows the Dreadnoughtus.   (AP Photo/Jennifer Hall via Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

(Newser) – Our favorite excavations, studies, and finds of the year:

  • ANIMAL KINGDOM: Meet Dreadnoughtus, Biggest Dinosaur Yet (September): This year saw the emergence of the new king of the dinosaurs, at least in terms of size. Researchers in the Patagonia region of Argentina found a brute they named Dreadnoughtus, and they're laying claim to it being the largest land animal whose size can be accurately measured. Its name has an appropriate meaning, too. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
  • HEALTH HAPPENINGS: Huge Breakthrough in Quest for Type I Diabetes Cure (October): There's no known cure for Type 1 diabetes—but a team at Harvard announced in October that after 15 years of research, it has successfully coaxed human embryonic stem cells into ones that produce insulin. When those cells were transferred to diabetic mice, they cured diabetes in less than 10 days. (Runner-up and No. 3.)

  • THE BIG DIG: UNDER THE EARTH AND SEA: Investigators: We've Got a Piece of Earhart's Plane (October): Amelia Earhart's vanishing has fascinated people for decades. At the end of October, a team investigating her disappearance reported with "increasing confidence" that it managed to identify a piece of her plane that was retrieved in 1991. The piece would also seem to indicate that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan didn't crash but rather ended up as castaways. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
  • HOW THINGS WORK: Antikythera Mechanism Continues to Amaze (November): This ancient astronomical calculator was the gift that kept on giving up more secrets in 2014. Researchers analyzing the astronomical calculator's own calendar and comparing it to Babylonian eclipse records discovered that its story begins much earlier than previously thought. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
  • SOCIETY AND CULTURE CLUB: Science Determines Catchiest Hit Song of All Time (November): Michael Jackson's "Beat It," Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," and ABBA's "SOS" were all contenders. But musicologists at the University of Amsterdam recently conducted a study to find out which song has morphed into the biggest earworm of all time. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
Click to read about more discoveries, and keep checking back in 2015.