Egg Shape and the “Egg-quation”

Egg Shape and the “Egg-quation”

When you look at the eggs of different birds, you will notice that they have different shapes. Some are round like the eggs of most owls, and some are elliptical like the eggs of an emu. Others are oval, such as chicken eggs, or pear-shaped like the eggs of a penguin. Why is egg shape important? There has been a need to know how to pack eggs to support them to prevent cracking. This is not just important for people who raise chickens and sell eggs at your local grocery store but also for conservationists protecting birds in the wild.

This need to understand egg shapes led to studies by scientists at Kent University in England. They came up with a mathematical formula with four essential inputs: 1-egg length, 2-maximum breadth, 3-diameter where the pointed end terminates, and 4-location of the egg’s maximum diameter in relation to the midpoint of its length. The problem was that the earlier mathematical analysis didn’t work on pear-shaped eggs, but the formula works for any egg shape by adding the fourth variable.

This is a classic example of two things. One is that research that may seem pointless to a casual observer frequently provides needed information. So, for example, people wanting to transport eggs, incubate eggs efficiently, and restore bird populations in areas where they have become extinct will use this equation.

A second thing this research shows is the incredible design of the egg. An engineering equation allows the design of precise egg shape construction to fit all environments. This is a complex engineering problem with practical applications, and it shows that even the ordinary egg speaks of the Creator’s wisdom and skill in providing for His creatures.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

References: Science News 12/4/21 page 11. Scientific report in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.