How Amazing are Eggs and Scientists’ Curiostiy?

If you regard seeds as eggs, then all life begins with eggs. Many of our days also begin with eggs: fried, boiled, scrambled, poached, or omeleted. I like my fried eggs crispy.

Yummy

Scientists study the most unusual things. A recent study involved trying to determine the criteria that birds use to reject eggs that don’t belong to their nests. Lazy birds like cowbirds try to get other birds to do their egg-tending for them. They tested for size, shape, and color. Size turned out to be the most significant aspect for Mama Bird to decide which of those eggs didn’t belong. Most peculiar is that an egg that was  Robin’s-egg-blue and similar in size to Robin’s eggs, but shaped like an octahedron was not rejected. I would have thought it uncomfortable to sit on.

Ouchy octahedron

I do know that mother birds are very protective of their eggs as their future babies. I grew up on a farm, and had the daily job of gathering eggs. The hens had nests in a specially built bookcase-like frame. If a hen was in a nest, I knew I would get pecked if I tried to remove her or her egg. I would take off a shoe, put my hand inside, and push her head to the side as I reached under and collected her egg. Fortunately, she didn’t chase after me when I left the henhouse.

Other scientists discovered that even before hatching, some birds receive and remember parental alarm calls, which slightly shake the eggs. Further, the about-to-born chicks can pass on the information to other eggs in the nest. Once again, the scientists decided to test this by removing eggs from nests and subjecting some eggs to alarm calls and not others. Then they were returned to the nests, and measured response times to alarm calls were a few seconds faster in the nests with the exposed eggs. Who would have thought?

Hey, did you hear that?

A more significant and controversial issue faces human beings as medical science now has the capacity to alter DNA in human eggs. While the ability to correct to prevent life-threatening diseases sounds like a miracle to impending parents, the idea of designer babies has so far checked scientists from going too far.