Saturday, June 10, 2006

Speckled Bird Eggs Are Stronger

For more than a hundred years scientists and birders have engaged in a heated debate over a seemingly harmless question: Why are birds' eggs speckled?

Many experts believed that the markings are camouflage, useful in concealing eggs from predators. But for many bird species, the facts don't quite add up.

Now British ornithologists, or bird zoologists, have shown that speckling may be a unique solution to the engineering problem of how to strengthen unusually fragile shells.

A new study shows that pigment chemicals that create the speckles may act as a kind of glue, supporting thin areas of shell and protecting them from breakage during incubation in the nest.

Read the entire article.

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