Every year, Nikon's Small World in Motion Competition rounds up the best microscopic videos from scientists across the world. The winners of the 2013 competition have just been announced, and the results are strange yet beautiful.

The video above, by Dr. Gabriel G. Martins from the University of Lisbon, shows a 3D reconstruction of a quail embryo. Comprised of more than 1,000 separate images, it shows in amazing detail the anatomy of the tiny bird. Some of the other videos are worth a watch, too.


This one, by Michael Weber from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, took second place and shows the beating heart of a two day old zebrafish. The heart measures just 250 micrometers, and the images were captured using light sheet fluorescence microscopy before being stitched together to create the 3D video.


Finally, third place was secured by Dr. Lin Shao from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia. The video shows, for the very first time, the inner details of the mitochondria in a living cell within a 3D image. Captured using structured illuminated microscopy using a wide field microscope, it's an unprecedented views inside the inner workings of biology. [Nikon Small World]