An egg-cellent work of Nature!

Today I bring you a little magic box.

This little magic box encapsulates is, in my humble opinion, Nature’s best work of Engineering! 😉

Behold the Egg!

an egg
a chicken’s egg

This is the image we get immediately when we think of an egg but eggs come in different shapes and sizes.

Adolphe_Millot_oeufs-wikipedia
The 1.5 kg the ostrich egg is the largest egg of any living bird. However, the extinct elephant bird and some dinosaurs had bigger eggs. The smaller bird egg is from the hummingbird. Source Wikipedia

 

Oval, conical or round

Ever wondered why? Well… birds who nest in cliffs have conical eggs so that they don’t roll off and the round ones are typical of hole-nesting birds as don’t occupy much space, clever right?

 

Reptiles, fishes, amphibians, invertebrates even some mammalians lay eggs!

In fact, the largest recorded egg is from a whale shark (30 cm long, 14 cm wide, and 9 cm thick).

There are also microscopic eggs, like the tapeworm of river fluke. These microscopic creatures are human parasites.

 

But why the egg? Why this structure? What is inside the egg?

 

The egg main purpose is to allow the embryo to develop until it can survive on its own.

The egg is a structure packed with life essentials for protection and nourishment

Let’s cut our chicken egg in half. You can see:

Anatomy of an egg

The eggshell, of mineral origin and covered with millions of tiny pores through air travels, allowing the embryo to breathe.

The egg yolk has all the nutrients (proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals) the embryo needs to develop into a chick.

Holding the yolk in place is the chalazae and surrounding it there is the albumen or egg white (this substance is rich in water and protein).

I like to compare the egg to a sustainable city. The egg has all that the chick needs to survive: protection, food, water AND a waste management system. The allantoic fluid is like the egg’s landfield – the reservoir for the growing embryo’s waste.

 

Amazing complexity and such simplicity and beauty in a simple egg!

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