Friday, 6 April 2018

Amazingly Strong Eggshells Defy Darwinian Explanations

It’s an elegantly designed temporary home. Image courtesy of KDS4444, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Joel Kontinen

Chicken eggs are elegantly designed temporary homes. They protect the inhabitants (if we can call them that) from harm and yet let them breath.

They also seem to be able to tell the birdling when it’s time to set out into the wider world.

Eggs have three main layers. A new study published in the journal Science Advances suggests that the eggshells’ nanostructure “appears to play a key role in the strength of the shell.”

As quoted in The Guardian, study co-author Professor Marc McKee (McGill University in Canada) says that eggshells, although thin, can be harder than some metals.

But when the time is right, the chick can crack the shell open.

The almost magical ingredient is a protein called osteopontin. The hardness of the shell depends on the distribution of osteopontin in the various layers of the eggshell.

Unfortunately, Professor McKee fails to give credit to whom credit is due:

When you think about it, we should be making materials that are inspired by nature and by biology because, boy, it is really hard to beat hundreds of millions of years of evolution in perfecting something.”

The problem with Darwinian mechanisms is that they are incapable of top-down planning that is seen everywhere in creation.


Davis, Nicola. 2018. Scientists solve eggshell mystery of how chicks hatch. The Guardian (30 March).