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Eggshells are designed to break from the inside


From Nicola Davis at the Guardian:

Before being laid, bird eggs form a hard calcium-rich shell with three main layers. While it was already known that these thin from the innermost out as a chick grows in preparation for hatching – with calcium from the shell being incorporated into its skeleton in the process – quite what happens at the molecular scale has been something of a mystery.

Now scientists say they have discovered that eggshells have a nanostructure, and that it appears to play a key role in the strength of the shell.

“Everybody thinks eggshells are fragile – [when] we’re careful, we ‘walk on eggshells’ – but in fact, for their thinness they are extremely strong, harder than some metals,” said Prof Marc McKee, a coauthor of the study from McGill University in Canada. “We are really understanding now at the almost molecular scale how an eggshell is assembled and how it dissolves.” More.

A friend notes the following remark in a sidebar story:

“Just because a hen is needed to produce a chicken egg, this doesn’t mean a dinosour egg couldn’t once have existed without a tyrannosaurus. Besides, the theory of evolution has long since rendered the chicken-egg dilemma something of a non-mystery anyway: once you allow species adaption to enter the equation, it is fairly straightforward to see how a new egg-laying species might come about.”

Kirk Durston draws our attention to the use of the expression “fairly straightforward,” adding

It is the phrase “fairly straight-forward” that really got my attention. I would expect to read this in a sci fi novel, but in science one must be able to reproduce this if it is actually “fairly straightforward”. If one cannot, then we are reading science fiction, not science.

But a great many evolution stories today are just imaginative history, which is a form of fiction.

See also: Biophysicist Kirk Durston: Canada’s governor general as a highly visible example of scientism


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