From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Talk:Egg (biology))
Jump to: navigation, search


This page needs a link to the page "Animal_Shell" included somewhere in the text.

Added it to "See also" Adrian J. Hunter 07:03, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Could someone please elaborate on how female animals develop eggs within themselves, particularly those that lay hard, calcium-rich shells?

What is the composition of an egg?[edit]

In the article, it is suggested that a nice egg is a zygote, thus a cell. Is an egg (like a chicken egg) just a cell, or is it a container that contains one cell and other material to sustain the development of the zygote? The difference between a fertilized egg and an unfertilized ovum (which is also refered to as an egg, and, btw, most chicken eggs I eat are unfertilized) is not clearly made. The egg yolk and egg white articles suggest that they are the nucleus and the cyotplasm of the cell, up until fertilization, should this be mentioned in this article? Is there a universal structure or composition of eggs, both fertilized and unfertilized? I can't find a diagram of what a (e.g.) chicken egg is made of, and what structures it contains, should such a diagram be added? Anthony Liekens 22:12, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

The german chicken egg article has such a diagram, there is no such article in the Englsih wikipedia. I think such a composition/structure has its place on wikipedia, either here or in egg (food), which I don't think to be a good place for that. What are your opinions on this? Anthony Liekens 22:22, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Images and fishy section[edit]

a good image to include

OK, well I've cleaned up the page layout of images a little in order to avoid the use of galleries. In the process I removed a couple of the fish images that were less clearly showing eggs themselves. Although we have already got rather more images than text, as Anthony Liekens says above, it would be a good idea to add Image:Ei1.jpg shown right - assuming someone can translate the labelled features.

Of more concern, I started to write the section on fish eggs and fishy reproductive strategies — now, as Sam Cooke might have said, I "don't know much about oology, don't know much ichthyology", so it would be a good idea for someone to check over this section and improve it. In addition there are some interesting things that could be said about parental care of eggs, particularly by cichlids and seahorses. -- Solipsist 09:33, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Colors section[edit]

I don't have time to do anything with it at the moment, but the whole section on egg coloring needs to be gone over. The overall impression one gets when reading it is that several different authors with widely differing opinions tried to sound like experts on the subject. The section disagrees with itself! EthanL (talk) 12:36, 8 June 2006 (UTC)


I've removed the following

In reality, the speckles of eggs provide extremely poor camouflague, summed up affectionately by ornithologist Andrew Gosler of the University of Oxford who claimed that "a blind weasel could find them." (see References §)

As it stands, it does not make sense - Gosler himself talks of the strong evolutionary pressure for ground-nesting non-passerines to lay coloured and speckled eggs as camouflage, and anyone who has seen the eggs of species like Ringed Plover will have little doubt of the effectiveness of cryptic egg colouration on the bare areas they use for nesting - white eggs would be instantly obvious to any predator in that situation, whereas the cryptic eggs are difficult to see even at close range.

I don't doubt that the quotation is accurate, but there must be something missing from the context, which needs clarification.

OK. it refers only to Great Tits, which are hole-nesters and don't need cryptic eggs. jimfbleak 12:51, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

jimfbleak 12:30, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Egg sizes[edit]

Eggs of hummingbird, hen, and ostrich

This image is now available on Commons that might be useful for this article. --Spangineeres (háblame) 02:09, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I added it to the gallery. Adrian J. Hunter 14:40, 16 December 2006 (UTC)


I added a wikify tag. The article seems oddly formated and somewhat incomplete. --Cody.Pope 19:29, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure what it was about the fomatting you didn't like, but I've merged the three very short sections into one, adjusted image layout, and removed an image that didn't make sense without a legend (the image with the caption "a good image to include" on this talk page). I realise including the article title in the heading names is contrary to WP:MOSHEAD but I think it works on this particular page. So for now I'm removing the wikify tag. Adrian J. Hunter 16:25, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
Also I removed the image of the cowbird eating another bird's egg, since you can't see the cowbird's face or beak from the angle the photo is taken. Adrian J. Hunter 16:25, 16 December 2006 (UTC)


Why do Oviparity and Oviparous redirect here if they aren't mentioned in the article? — Omegatron 19:55, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Oviparous is defined in the third sentence of the lead. Adrian J. Hunter 03:59, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

A monotreme egg[edit]

I would like to ask if anyone could foward more information relating to the monotreme eggs, in what way are they different to reptile and other eggs, an image of an egg, and any other relevant information. Thanks.--Francisco Valverde 15:38, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Monotreme eggs are basically similar to reptilian eggs of the same size in internal structure. Also like most reptile eggs, they are semi-soft and easily dry out. Sex determination is genetic rather than temperature dependent. The young is very underdeveloped at hatching, similar to the young of marsupials. Petter Bøckman (talk) 07:56, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Very dubious sentence... Hoax!?[edit]

The sentence of a feline egg-layer is a certain hoax... --Francisco Valverde 19:06, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

How does an egg develop?[edit]

I presume that before it ends up at 1.5 kg an ostrich egg starts off very much smaller inside the mama ostrich. How does it grow and develop? How does it get the necessary nutrients? And does the shell grow along with the egg, or does it form around the rest of the egg as the final stage of development?

Grendlegrutch 08:34, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

kinds of eggs[edit]

This article is mostly about bird eggs, but arthropods, mollusks, and reptiles have eggs. This article should cover all sorts of eggs, and the bird stuff should go on an "Egg (bird)" page or a "Shelled egg" page. Leadwind 03:43, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

You are quite right. See the suggested merger of ovum into this article, discussed below. arkuat (talk) 06:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Please Read[edit]

An egg(chicken egg, lizard egg, so on) is just a giant cell, correct? I remember that it is just a giant cell. Can someone here verify/refute this statement. If it's true, please state that an egg is a giant cell in the intro. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MrZhuKeeper (talkcontribs) 18:03, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Merge with ovum article?[edit]

I'm a little troubled that this article exists side by side with Ovum. Any thoughts on a merge? Note that human egg redirects to ovum, while egg (bird) redirects here. This is not a good situation. arkuat (talk) 06:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Not merged, but better clarified and differentiated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Differentiated? But there is no difference between an egg and an ovum in the biological sense. This is just a case of two words meaning the same thing. Human egg is currently a redirect; it probably needs to have its own article. Likewise with Egg (bird) or Bird egg or Shelled egg or whatever it winds up being called; if it needs its own article, we can make one. But ovum and egg (biology), I think, ought to be merged arkuat (talk) 05:26, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Amniote needs to be kept an eye on by any editors undertaking the proposed merge. arkuat (talk) 05:02, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to add a split tag suggesting that part of this article (based on its categorization in Aviculture) should be split to a new article Bird egg or something like that. Unfortunately, WP:Split doesn't seem to suggest an easy way to do that. arkuat (talk) 06:53, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Support, but following the merge the topic would benefit from splitting to form linked pages for "human ovum", "bird egg" to cover ornithology, and perhaps others, which might take a lot of work. Snowman (talk) 11:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the support, Snowman. I'd like to mention that the editors of Eggshell probably ought to be recruited into this effort as well. --arkuat (talk) 06:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Oppose: This article covers a complete multicellular structure containing a developing embryo; the ovum article covers unfertilized female megagametes. These are entirely different structures. Although the former does result from fertilization of the latter, the result of that fertilization is the presence of a new organism which was not previously present. --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:16, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Rotten eggs[edit]

I got here from Hydrogen Sulfide as that article links here via the term "rotten eggs". However this article says nothing about what causes eggs to rot, or what causes the characteristic "rotten egg" smell. If someone knowledgeable could expand the article to cover this it would be most useful Manning (talk) 10:09, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

That article currently implies that the smell is caused by anaerobic bacteria that invade the (otherwise sterile) egg and liberate the sulfur from the amino acids. Probably that article (or a more specific article on the kinds of bacteria) is the best place for section giving a detailed exposition of the topic. Nonetheless, it might be worth very briefly mentioning here somewhere here the degree of sterility (or absence of immune system) of eggs, in a way that directs the reader back to hydrogen sulfide if they want details about rotten eggs. Cesiumfrog (talk) 02:12, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Cellular structure[edit]

More information on the cellular biology of eggs would be interesting. I have read claims that an unfertilized egg is a single cell, making eggs by far the largest cells in biology. (talk) 06:53, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Probably among the most massive, sure. But maybe not the longest; the axons of individual neuron cells can reach from your toe to your head. Cesiumfrog (talk) 02:16, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Days til hatched?[edit]

There seems to be no general range of time for eggs to hatch. I realize this varies radically, but it seems to me that some general range could be stated. Student7 (talk) 00:05, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Have you tried googling for any examples? Cesiumfrog (talk) 02:16, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
For starters, look up triops. Their eggs can take incredibly long periods between laying and hatching. Cesiumfrog (talk) 06:03, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Ambiguous sentence in lead about egg and ovum[edit]

The sentence reads:

The term "egg" is used differently outside the animal kingdom, for an egg cell (sometimes called an ovum).

Animal kingdom redirects to Animal, and humans being animals as well, this sentence seems unclear. Also, it appears that in some languages the term egg is often used for ovum, and in others ovum is almost exclusively used for mammals (e.g. in French). If the intent of this sentence is to explain that in biology egg may also be used for ovum and vice-versa, or that mammal eggs may also be referred to as ova, it should probably be reformulated. The current sentence appears to promote the unscientific idea that humans are not animals (perhaps involuntarily). (talk) 03:19, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: move Anthony Appleyard (talk) 16:22, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. There are, effectively, two main uses for the term "egg". One of them is an egg. You know, something mother animals lay that later hatches. The other is egg (food), that is, eggs prepared as food. I believe that the biological entity is what people are mostly looking for when they type in egg (and exactly that). When people want the food item, they will almost certainly type in "eggs" and not "egg" into the search bar. And I would support "eggs" continuing to redirect to the disambiguation page. But when people type in the word "egg", they are most likely looking for that thing that a mother animal lays. (The egg cell also is a valid potential target, but apart from being only a partial title match, a cursory look at Google Books for the singular word "egg" shows only the shell-bearing eggs. Google News is less useful though far more interesting, as most are using the biological egg in a figurative sense--see this article innovatively titled Man hits sister for being an 'egg'. And I would also support EGG remaining a redirect to the disambiguation page).

It certainly goes without saying that no other article has any considerable or notable claim to primary topic. Red Slash 03:53, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Support. This has been a disambiguation fixing target of mine for a long time, and it breaks down exactly as Red Slash suggests. "Egg" alone almost always is intended to link to the biological sense, while uses addressing the food sense refer to "eggs". Moreover, the food sense is really just a subtopic of the biological sense, because the eggs that are made into food are biological eggs to begin with. When you cook an egg, you are cooking an egg (which would be an egg biologically whether it was cooked or not). Finally, there is greater long-term significance in the biological fact of eggs existing at all and allowing animals to first evolve into land-dwelling creatures, then in the comparatively recent human use of eggs as food. bd2412 T 14:30, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - sorry I can't see the benefit. Right now both biologists and cooks are happy with the titles as they show up when either (a) Googling (b) using RH search box. Article creators are also happy because they get helpful dab notifications if they don't know which article they are linking to.
What is the object of the move? - is to misdirect cooks to articles on frogs eggs, is it to make editors mislink cookery articles to the biology article? Can someone explain who exactly benefits from disguising the biology article as a cooking article? In ictu oculi (talk) 16:23, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Readers benefit, In ictu oculi, because when they type in "egg" they get an article about the topic they are probably looking for. To reducto ad absurdium your argument, would you suggest moving Turkey to Turkey (country)? I'm sure that more than a couple of culinary or avian article writers have accidentally linked to turkey thinking of the bird or its meat, and I'm certain more than a couple readers have searched for the bird and clicked on the country's article forgetting that the country shares its name! Red Slash 21:20, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
As you say, that is an absurd argument.
In this case your only evidence so far that more biologists than cooks use wikipedia is "I believe," you first need to have some evidence for your belief before comparing your belief to an absurd argument.
Still oppose - adding oppose reasons below. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:00, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Do forgive me, I saw that you asked twice "what's the point?" and so I answered the question of what the point was. Had you asked "what's the basis" instead, I would have responded using more sources. Do you see those Google Books results? And I'm not going to respond to the absolutely ridiculous suggestion that only biologists use an article on an egg. Clearly they do not. Nor are cooks the only ones who would read the article on the food - that's patently not the point. Red Slash 00:45, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Striking second !vote by same participant - this appears to be a restatement of the initial vote, but it is best to avoid the appearance of impropriety. bd2412 T 02:55, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Sorry, I don't see anything to choose from between the biological and culinary uses. The only argument I see that really addresses this is "eggs" being more used for the latter, but I think this would just cause confusion. If not for their respective sizes, I'd question why the articles were even separate. I wish there were some way to WP:CONCEPTDAB this, because the general topic of eggs is definitely primary. --BDD (talk) 18:19, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Egg (biology) addresses the use of eggs as food - although, in a sense, Egg (food) is a bit deceptive, because it is really only about eggs as human food. Many animals eat eggs (and some humans eat eggs without cooking them), so really that article could be titled Egg (human cooked food). bd2412 T 21:26, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Nearly everything made of biological matter is food for something. Category:Foods focuses on human food. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:48, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
BDD, I don't think you need to apologize! But the Google Books results I gave showed to me that most people who write "egg" mean, well, the thing an oviparous animal lays. As a secondary option, I might want to CONCEPTDAB it, but like you said, these are two huge topics that both deserve extensive Wikipedia articles. Red Slash 21:20, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose zygote ("egg") would make more sense than this article, if you're arguing that the biological sense is primary, then the actual biological sense should be primary; or the alternate biological sense, the ovum, the female gamete or "egg". However, there are many more cookbooks in the world than biology books, so it hardly seems likely that the biological sense is primary over the culinary. -- (talk) 04:37, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
In what way is a zygote commonly referred to as an "egg"? Red Slash 21:20, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
In human anatomy: a fertilised egg (or ovum) is a zygote, which transforms into a morula, by cleavage, which develops into a blastocyst (with a blastocoele), by cavitation. If an egg is not fertilised, then does not become a zygote. "Egg" and "Zygote" are not the same. 15:00, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
I think I can pretty safely say that the thing a bird or a snake plops out has primary topic for the word "egg" over that. Though I thank you, sincerely, for the excellent explanation. I understand that much better now! smile Red Slash 00:45, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support it's bizarre that what everyone thinks of as an "egg" is at a weird thrush (bird) type place. All the other meanings are secondary to the common sense meaning... but this is Wikipedia, so I predict a 50/50 result with no sensible outcome. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:04, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
... But do people think of a an egg for cooking, an egg for hatching, or the gamete. Snowman (talk) 11:50, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
People also think of bird legs for cooking - why don't we make Leg into a disambiguation page, with subpages for Leg (biology) and Leg (food). Perhaps it is because the legs we eat for food are legs? bd2412 T 16:32, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - because I cannot decide for the life of me if the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC should be Egg (biology), Egg (food), or Egg cell. Steel1943 (talk) 08:10, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Clearly a primary topic. This is what most people are looking for when they think of "egg". JIP | Talk 10:33, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There is no true primary topic here. Keeping the current setup doesn't hurt anyone. Hot Stop talk-contribs 00:18, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Apathetic but I would egg others on to consider a primary article at the root with a hatnote to a disambig page rather than a disambig page at the root node that takes me to an article with actual content. Shyamal (talk) 07:22, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - food and biology essentially can be covered in the same broad page and is no-brainer primary topic. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:30, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The article Egg (biology) does not have much detail on the small one-celled egg of humans (and many other mammals). I think "Egg cell" will always need a main page of its own. The dab at "Egg" serves the function of listing the various meanings of egg in biology and I think the dab should be kept at "Egg". Also, the Oxford English Dictionary has that "eggs" for food has been in found in writing going back to the year 805 and "eggs" that hatch going back to the year 1000. I doubt if there is a primary topic here. Snowman (talk) 17:16, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Egg cell will always have its own article. In fact, people who get to the egg (biology) article by typing in the word "egg" will still be just one easy click away from the article on egg cells. Red Slash 00:45, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
...but "Egg (food)" gets many more hits than "Egg (biology)". Snowman (talk) 16:49, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
...but most people are not getting there by searching egg. Red Slash 23:41, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. This seems like a very reasonable move. MeegsC (talk) 23:59, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Agree with BDD that egg is ripe for WP:CONCEPTDABing, and I think the content currently in egg (biology) seems like an excellent base to start that from. There should be a section on ways in which eggs are exploited, ranging from ovivory (generally) to ornamental-decorations and palaeontology; the use of eggs as food by humans should be described in a subsection and a spin-out article eggs (culinary), not "egg (food)". Similarly, egg cells should be further expanded on in this page. The rest can be dealt with by way of a hatnote to egg (disambiguation). Cesiumfrog (talk) 07:00, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per Cesiumfrog. Obvious PrimaryTopic over decent competing topics if ever there was one. The food/culinary ingredient and the haploid cell are both derivative and lesser subjects. The article is already good at summarising many specialist sub articles, and could be improved by covering more. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:15, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. I think the evidence (and common sense) indicates this is the primary topic. The other major challenger is the food version of this topic, and you can't have eggs as food without there being eggs in the first place. As such this article already serves as a good WP:CONCEPTDAB covering both the two major competing topics.--Cúchullain t/c 14:40, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support as primary topic. Most other uses seem to derive from it.--Gibson Flying V (talk) 05:58, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support vide most generic use of term. AshLin (talk) 15:35, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongly support moving, the biological function of the egg is without a doubt the topic of most importance, taken from the broadest view. Like others have said, everything of biological significance about the egg as food can be said in the same article. - WPGA2345 - 20:05, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Conditional support on Egg being a wp:conceptdab walk victor falk talk 15:50, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support, per the rationales advanced by Red Slash, bd2412, et al. ╠╣uw [talk] 12:03, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

New Introduction[edit]

The introduction as I found it confused different taxonomic levels, jumping from the phylum level down to the class level. Instead I give three animal phyla. Also the original intro had paragraphs with several topics. I separated them, and grouped like topics together.

Please let me know your reasons if you feel it necessary to revert this new introduction. Thanks, Nick Beeson (talk) 20:02, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Image key[edit]

The caption for the lead image states, "(Click on image for key)". However, clicking brings up the Media Viewer, but no key.  --Lambiam 20:09, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Aerus and Taglion[edit]

On July 27, 2011 this edit introduced the words "aerus" and "taglion" for the big and little ends of the egg, respectively.

These words came up in an English Stackexchange answer, and it seems there is no evidence that these words existed prior to their inclusion in Wikipedia. I have just removed them. If anyone can find nontrivial usage examples, please mention them. --kundor (talk) 06:53, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Sounds like someone enjoying a little joke, or just getting very OveRexcited. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:06, 16 December 2016 (UTC)