Black holes, buckyballs and boxing hares — April’s best science images


Emperor dumbo. Meet the emperor dumbo octopus Grimpoteuthis imperator, a rare species of deep-sea cephalopod described using non-destructive imaging techniques and DNA analysis. The specimen in these images was accidentally caught by geologists collecting rock samples from the depths of North Pacific Ocean.

When the research ship’s on-board biologist, Alexander Ziegler, saw the creature, he recognized it as a dumbo octopus — named because their large fins resemble an elephant’s ears — but suspected it was a species unknown to science. Further investigation confirmed this: magnetic resonance imaging and computerized-tomography scans allowed Ziegler to examine the octopus’s internal structure in detail while leaving its body intact — an approach he says could prove useful for characterizing rare specimens in future.

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