Easter Wrap: A basket full of Easter Eggs

We went on an Easter egg hunt and found a whole lots of eggs. They might not strictly be Easter eggs, but they are definitely science about eggs. These are some of our favourite egg stories from our vault.

A most successful egg hunt

Researchers explore the complex story of an ancient luxury good.

Scientists say they are closer to understanding the lucrative production and trade of decorated ostrich eggs 5000 years ago.

These highly decorated items were luxury goods, prized by the elites of Mediterranean civilisations during the Bronze and Iron Ages, but to date little has been known about their supply chain – other than that they must have been imported.

Now an international team led by archaeologist Tamar Hodos from the University of Bristol, UK, has used scanning electron microscopy to investigate the chemical makeup of eggs held by the British Museum to pinpoint their origins and how they were made.

Soft-shelled eggs from dinosaurs and Antarctica

They’re big, and they may change our thinking.

It’s a big day for big egg stories – as in both the eggs and the stories are big.

In separate papers in the journal Nature, one team of scientists reports on what it says is the second-largest egg of any known animal ever found, and another suggests that, contrary to established thought, the early dinosaurs laid soft-shelled eggs.

Coloured eggs are a gift from the dinosaurs

Research suggests egg shell pigment evolved before birds.

Animals that lay eggs – all birds, some reptiles and two species of monotreme mammal – are known an amniotes. Birds are the only ones which lay eggs that come in different colours – the result of an adaptation inherited from their dinosaur ancestors, says a new study in the journal Nature.

Researchers, led by Jasmina Wiemann at Yale University in Connecticut, US, use Raman spectroscopy to analyse fossil eggshells from all the major dinosaur groups.

In those of a group of small, bipedal and often feathered animals known as Maniraptora, the scientists found traces of pigment. None was found in eggs for any other type.

Egghead concussion

Yolk study sheds light on traumatic brain injuries.

Scientists say they have identified for the first time what type of impact most likely causes concussion – a serious public health issue and the number one injury suffered by sportspeople globally.

The study’s results are not what you might expect. Using an egg substitute as a model for the brain, the team discovered that rotational impact – especially decelerating rotation – rather than direct impact causes extensive trauma to the yolk inside.

How to build the perfect egg

Nanostructures make eggshells strong and weak.

The changing nanostructure of bird eggs enables them to be sturdy enough to provide protection, yet fragile enough to be cracked open by a fledgling chick when the time comes, new research has shown.

A study, published in the journal Science Advances, provides a new understanding of the mechanical properties of eggshells and could help improve the food safety of eggs.

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