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This year's end News episode wraps up with nothing but superlatives: the biggest, oldest, first, last, smallest and hottest developments in science from 2012.

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(0:00) Happy Boxing Day! I'm Hank Green, and welcome to a special year-end, double-wide edition of SciShow Breaking News. Each year brings us a wealth of new knowledge, all kinds of wondrous revelations of things we never knew before, and I could never condense all that into just a few minutes.
(0:17) Or could I? I'd have to talk really fast.
(0:22) Since we here at SciShow are all about more--learning more, understanding more, explaining more--I wanted to end our inaugural season together by giving you nothing but superlatives: the biggest, oldest, first, last, smallest and hottest developments in science from 2012.
(0:39) Let's start out by winding the clock back to last January. On January 12th, a team of American biologists announced that they discovered the world's smallest vertebrate, a frog, just 7.7 millimeters long, in the forest of Papua New Guinea. 
(0:52) The species, given the name Paedophryne amauensis, was hard to detect because you may have noticed it's pretty tiny, and it lives on the forest floor amongst all the leaves. But scientists say that its discovery suggests that many more species of such tiny amphibians are just waiting to be found.
(1:05) Now, skipping ahead to May, when anthropologists announced the discovery of the world's oldest musical instruments. Excavators found four flutes carved from vulture bones and mammoth ivory in caves in Southwestern Germany; the same cave system where one of the famous zaftig fertility figures--known as Venus figurines--have been found.
(1:24) Radiocarbon dating put the flute's age at 42 thousand years old, 7 thousand years older than were originally thought and more than 40 thousand years before Jethro Tull released Thick as a Brick

(1:36) Then, on May 25th, an international group of astronomers finally announced the location of the world's largest radio telescope. After years of debate, the decision was made to place thousands of antennae throughout nine countries in Southern Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand to create a combined signal collecting area of one square kilometer.
(1:56) The project, called the Square Kilometer Array, will be 50 to 100 times more sensitive than any existing radio telescope and is expected to be online by 2025.
(2:06) And, on that exact same day, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle to dock with the International Space Station, ushering in a new era of regular, private sector space flight. The Dragon capsule brought nonessential supplies to the ISS and splashed down safely in the Pacific ocean on May 31st.
(2:25) Dragon has since completed another successful resupplying mission in October, and is scheduled to conduct two more in 2013.
(2:32) On June 26, physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York said that they had smashed together ions of gold to produce the highest man-made temperature ever recorded: four trillion degrees Celsius. That's about a quarter million times hotter than the core of the sun, you guys.

(2:50) Though they just announced it in June, the physicists actually reached this record-melting temperature back in 2010, while producing--also for the first time--quark-gluon plasma, a kind of haze of fundamental particles similar to what appeared in the first instance after the big bang. So it's a twofer.

(3:07) Not to be outdone, on July 4th, physicists at CERN in Switzerland said that they were quote, "statistically confident" that they'd found the last undiscovered particle predicted by the standard model of physics: the Higgs-Boson. The boson is thought to be an indicator of the Higgs Field, a theoretical fog of particles that essentially gives mass to particles that interact with it.

(3:28) Physicists used CERN's 27km particle collider to generate enough energy for such bosons to briefly appear, and after analyzing 800 trillion collisions over the past 2 years CERN detected a boson with a mass around 125 billion electron volts, that they think is the Higgs. The experts said that they should have their final official findings about this discovery ready in the spring.

(3:51) On August 6th, the Mars Science Laboratory safely landed on Mars making it the largest and therefore awesomest probe to ever reach the planet surface. With a suite of 11 instruments, the MSL is 3 m long, weights 900 kg, and arrived by way of the most precise landing ever executed; flying 566.5 million kilometers to land within a target only 20 km across.

(4:12) The whole month of September, meanwhile, was one for the record book--though not in a good way. As of September 19th, Arctic sea ice reached its lowest coverage area ever recorded, just 3.4 million square kilometers; half the average minimum level measured from 1979 to 2000.

(4:27) Perhaps not surprisingly, September 2012 was tied with 2005 for the hottest September ever, with an average global temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, 0.67 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average.

(4:39) On November 22nd, Italian scientist released the first direct images ever taken of DNA. Using the new sample preparation method, the researchers were able to isolate a double strand of DNA and capture images of it with a scanning electron microscope. The images provide the first photographic proof of DNA's double helix structure, though we were pretty sure about it before we took the picture to be completely honest.

(5:00) And finally, paleontologists announced on December 4th the discovery of the oldest know dinosaur. American and British scientists found the fossil bones of the dog-sized Nyasasaurus parringtoni in Tanzania, and dated them back 243 million years; about 10 million years before the earliest known specimens. The discovery not only pushes back the first known appearance of dinos the researchers say, but also firmly places the birthplace of dinosaurs in what are now the southern continents.

(5:28) There you have it, a year's worth of discoveries in about 5 minutes, and only because I can talk so fast! Thank you to everyone who's been watching SciShow for this last year, it's been great to have your support and we hope you stick with us in our next year of making SciShow. And thanks to the whole SciShow team, for putting this all together. And of course, as always, if you want to keep getting smarter with us and staying up to date on all the latest breaking news in science, you can go to and subscribe.