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10 Award-Winning Microscopic Photos

 For almost half a century, Nikon has recognized that photographs of tiny and microscopic things can be just as impressive as photos of massive mountains and enormous whales. That's why they hold an annual 'small world' contest, and here are the top ten winners from the 2017 edition:
 
 
1st Place: Skin Cell by Bram van den Broek, Andriy Volkov, Kees Jalink, Nicole Schwarz and Reinhard Windoffer
Being laden with an irregular amount of keratin causes some parts of this skin cell to become fluorescent, which could be an indication of a type of skin cancer. The scientists who captured this photo hope that by researching these cells, they'll be able to find out more about how this type of cancer progresses.
2nd Place: Flower Seed Head by Havi Sarfaty
Here's something you probably see every day, but from a bit further away: a common daisy flower that's on its last stem.
3rd Place: Algae by Jean-Marc Babalian
No, that's not Pacman or Space Invaders, that's actually a live Volvox algae releasing its daughter colonies. This species of algae was part of a study that showed how unicellular organisms turned multicellular around 200 million years ago.
4th Place: Tapeworm Head by Teresa Zgoda
A tapeworm's front end has hooks and suckers that help it attach to a host's small intestine. The head then inverts back into the tapeworm's own body until it arrives at the host's gut. Lovely!
 
5th Place: Mold on a Tomato by Dean Lerman
Mold has been fascinating scientists for a very long time. In fact, the reason that Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic was actually due to some mold invading one of his Petri dishes.
6th Place: Lily Pollen by David A. Johnston
Here you can see some pollen gilds, taken from one of the United Kingdom's many lilies. In some parts of the world, lilies are enjoyed as decoration, while in others the bulbs are consumed as a vegetable.
7th Place: Chick Nerves by Ryo Egawa
In the photo above, you can see some nerves that are developing behind an embryonic chick's eye. At this stage in development, the neurons are still feeling out exactly where they need to settle in order to take charge of the bird's vision. 
8th Place: Rat Cochlea by Michael Perny
This fascinating cavity supports tiny organs that produce nerve signals from sound vibrations, which enables animals (rats in this case) to be able to hear.
9th Place: Cartilage-Like Tissue Made From Bone Stem Cells by Catarina Moura, Sumeet Mahajan, Richard Oreffo and Rahul Tare
Moura researches and studies skeletal stem cells, which may be highly useful for people who have damaged their skeletal system. This research will be especially beneficial to elderly patients, who have higher rates of fractures and osteoporosis.
10th Place: Weevil Sex by Csaba Pintér
Cotton weevils are some of the most destructive agricultural pests that exist and have currently caused more than $23 billion worth of damages in the United States alone. That's why studying how these creatures reproduce is so essential to curbing this problem.
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