Ever Wonder Why Eggs Are Shaped Like Eggs? Scientists Say They’ve Figured It Out.
If a Hollywood executive dreamed of an egg, he would look like a chicken: immensely popular, with a clear complexion.
But the world of wild bird eggs is much more bizarre and more diverse than oval products on supermarket shelves.
Hummingbirds lay the eggs in the form of Tic Tac Peppers – perfect “Perfect Ellipses”, the advanced biologist and ornithologist Mary Stoddard. Sandbox eggs fall to the top, like tears. Owls wear tight spheres, unlike ping-pong balls.
A team of applied evolutionary biologists, physicists and mathematicians say they do not know why eggs come in many different models.
In a report published Thursday in the journal Science, scientists have linked the egg-shaped behavior of flying birds. Stronger insects, such as swallows, had elongated or pointed eggs. Birds that could not fly so far or quickly had more rounded and symmetrical results.
“Eggs are not just something we buy at the supermarket and prepare an omelette,” said Stoddard, author of the new research and professor at Princeton University.
The history of the egg is the history of the life of vertebrates on Earth, he explained. Before the eggs, the creatures were living the semi-aquatic lifestyle, returning to the water to procreate. But amniotic eggs, embryos enclosed in liquid-filled shells are found mobile breeding pools. And then – dry land, ho!
Approximately 360 million years later the revolutionary hard shell eggs are still a mystery of puff pastry. The diversity of bird eggs in particular has intrigued mathematicians, biologists and engineers, Stoddard said.
Some have theorized that birds have shaped their eggs according to calcium in their diet. (In this view, birds with low calcium diets put eggs in the shell as small as possible.) Others have suggested that some forms are filled into a better nest.
And perhaps, the eggs above the birds that inhabit the cliffs would turn like a top when they were pushed, instead of dying.
Aristotle said Douglas G. D. Russell, curator of the collections of eggs and nests of History Museum of History of London, “believes that the rooster sprinkled a strong chicken egg and round chickens.”
Stoddard and his colleagues took a more sophisticated approach than dead Greek philosophers. 50,000 eggs representing 1 400 bird species were photographed, all of which were deposited at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bird eggs are assigned in a spectrum of the spherical and symmetrical to the elongated and pointed.
If there is a platonic ideal of a bird’s egg, an egg forms more like any other, it is not made by a chicken, but a small warbler called a gentle prince. Prinia’s eggs, according to Stoddard, are slightly oblong, but “much more asymmetrical.”