This article in LiveScience.com names the Top 5 Incredible Scientific Discoveries of 2008. The eclectic list includes:
- Determining the rate of ice melting in the Arctic
- Filming the movement of a single electron
- Identifying new links between birds and dinosaurs
- Determining how many items human memory can consider simultaneously (three or four)
- and, of greatest interest to zoology (and cryptozoology), the identification of a huge new population of gorillas - up to 125,000 of them - in Rwanda.
This last item still boggles my mind. More than a hundred thousand gorillas. It's not only great news for the species, but it trashes the notion that there cannot be any large animals still be hiding from the eyes of science.
I was surprised not to find confirmation of huge amounts of water ice on Mars here - it belongs among any list of major discoveries.