The Eggs we all know and love for breakfast span a range of colours, shapes and sizes.  That range, however, pales in comparison to those of other bird species – bird eggs come in a dizzying array of variations, and science think is now knows why.

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When it came to egg shapes, biologist have long wondered why some eggs are pointier when compared to, say, Ostrich eggs, which are almost spherical.  Aristotle once suggested rounder eggs were male eggs, and other biologist theorized that elongated eggs were designed not to roll away.

In June’s Science, researchers presented a paper cracking the egg mystery.

Mary Caswell Stoddard and her team from Princeton University examined almost 50,000 eggs from 1,400 species provided by Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.  They found no correlation to nesting or habitat, but did see a pattern involving flight ability.

Mary Caswell Stoddard fellow
Mary Caswell Stoddard and her team studied thousands of bird eggs, find a correlation between egg shape and flight

It appears that frequent fliers, which have more streamlines bodies tend to have more elliptical eggs, while birds who remain grounded – such as Ostriches – tend to have rounder eggs.

If it is the Bird that shapes the egg, this new study has perhaps proved which one indeed does come first.

There’s more stories from 2017.  Check out the Best of 2017 series here

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