TIME Picks the Most Surprising Photos of 2011

Oswaldo Rivas / Reuters
A monkey rides on the back of a bull during a bullfighting event at the festival of El Senor de Esquipulas at Tipitapa, some 16 miles (26 km) north of Managua, on Jan. 16, 2011.

Marty Melville / AFP / Getty Images
A rail line buckled by the shifting earth is pictured in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 23, 2011, a day after a deadly 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the city. Hundreds of rescuers swarmed twisted and smoking buildings in a frantic search for survivors. The catastrophic quake left nearly 400 dead or missing.

Michaela Rehle / Reuters
Freddy Nock from Switzerland balances on the ropeway of a cable car leading to Germany’s highest mountain, the 9,718-ft. (2,962 m) Zugspitze, near the southern Bavarian resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, on Aug. 20, 2011. Nock balanced on the 3,264-ft. (995 m) rope to break his own world record, as part of a charity event.

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
A man from the cattle-herding Mundari tribe washes himself with cow urine in a settlement near Terekeka, Central Equatoria state, Sudan, on Jan. 19, 2011. South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from the north in a January referendum.

Dominic Nahr / Magnum for TIME
A prison-transport vehicle sinks into a river after it was allegedly commandeered by escaped prisoners on the outskirts of Cairo. Several prisons saw revolts and break-ins after police retreated from most areas. Jan. 31, 2011

Vincent West / Reuters
A man wearing a mask and covered in animal entrails lies on a tree on the ground during carnival celebrations in Zubieta, Spain, on Feb. 1, 2011. People from the northern Navarre community dressed in bizarre and terrifying costumes and created mayhem and loud noise levels to symbolically awaken the earth for the oncoming spring.

One of many beautiful photographs of Earth taken by European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli during a 159-day mission aboard the International Space Station. Bahia Anegada, Argentina, Feb. 14, 2011

Alfred / Sipa
The body of a Muammar Gaddafi loyalist lies on the ground as smoke billows from damaged tanks belonging to Gaddafi forces in al-Wayfiyah, Libya, 22 miles (35 km) west of Benghazi, after being hit by French warplanes. March 3, 2011

David Guttenfelder / AP
The body of an elderly woman lies next to the stairs in her home in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 13, 2011, two days after the earthquake and tsunami struck the country.

Finbarr O’Reilly / Reuters
A rebel fighter carries a weapon outside Ajdabiyah, Libya, on March 21, 2011. A wave of air strikes hit Muammar Gaddafi’s troops around Ajdabiyah, a strategic town in the barren scrub of eastern Libya, which rebels aimed to retake and where their fighters said they needed more help to take the battle to the enemy.

Dai Kurokawa / EPA
An alien doll is abandoned as wind blows dust at a rubble-collection point in the tsunami-devastated coastal town of Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, on April 5, 2011. More than 12,000 people were confirmed killed by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Dense brush covers a section of Jones Beach Island in New York, which was searched by Nassau County police for human remains. Police found two new bodies, bringing the total to 10 found on Long Island, and were working on the theory that a serial killer may have been in the area. April 11, 2011

Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP / Getty Images
A shrine rests in the woods in Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, on April 14, 2011. Japan’s seismologists were so entrenched in outdated beliefs about seismic hazards that they became blinkered to the risk of the March 11 mega-quake, commentary in a top science journal charged.

Ariel Schalit / AP
Hallel Goldamna, 13, wears a wedding dress as she holds a sign for Canadian singer Justin Bieber ahead of his concert in Tel Aviv. April 14, 2011

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
Soldiers from the Invisible Commandos, loyal to Ibrahim Coulibaly, practice ambush techniques without weapons in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on April 19, 2011.

Beawiharta / Reuters
A monkey wears a mask during a Topeng Monyet (Monkey Mask) show, a traditional Indonesian street performance, in eastern Jakarta on April 25, 2011.

Tom Pennington / Getty Images
Metal was turned to liquid from the intense heat of a wildfire outside a destroyed home in the Gaines Bend neighborhood near Strawn, Texas, April 26, 2011. More than 167 homes were destroyed by the fire, which moved through the area in April.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Paul says:

    I love this! good stuff.


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