July 13, 2017

Ever wonder why eggs are shaped like eggs? Scientists say they’ve figured it out

If a Hollywood exec dreamed up an egg, it would look like a chicken’s: immensely popular, with an unblemished complexion. But the universe of wild bird eggs is far weirder and more diverse than the oval products on the supermarket shelf. Hummingbirds lay eggs shaped like Tic Tac mints- “perfect little ellipses,” per ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Mary Stoddard. Sandpiper eggs come to peaks, in the manner of teardrops. Owls plop out tight spheres not unlike ping-pong balls. A team of evolutionary biologists, physicists and applied mathematicians say they know why eggs come in so many different models. In a report published in the journal Science, the scientists linked egg shapes to birds’ flight behavior. Stronger fliers, such as swallows, had elongated or pointy eggs. Birds that couldn’t fly so far or fast had rounder, more symmetric ones.  Read more

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