12/29/2012 09:12 am ET

Animal Photos Of The Year 2012

There were so many captivating animal photos taken in 2012 that it's hard to choose the best. In the gallery below, find some of the top animal pictures from our weekly animal photos collection.

This year saw a number of weird animal discoveries, including a meat-eating sponge and a fish with a penis on its head.

Researchers working in New Guinea reported finding what may be the world's tiniest vertebrate. Averaging less than one-third of an inch in length, the frogs are able to fit on a U.S. dime.

This year saw a "poaching epidemic" soar, as rhinos continued to be killed in astonishing numbers, according to the Associated Press. Over 633 were killed in South Africa alone.

Some conservation efforts gained traction this year, including shark finning bans, which were embraced by several U.S. states and countries around the world.

Which animal stories do you remember from the past year? Check out the photos below and vote for your favorite animal pictures of 2012.

Animal Photos Of The Year 2012