The egg is the organic vessel containing the zygote in which an embryo develops until it can survive on its own; at which point the animal hatches. An egg results from fertilization of an egg cell. Most arthropods, vertebrates (excluding mammals), and mollusks lay eggs, although some, such as scorpions do not.
Reptile eggs, bird eggs, and monotreme eggs are laid out of water, and are surrounded by a protective shell, either flexible or inflexible. Eggs laid on land or in nests are usually kept within a warm and favorable temperature range while the embryo grows. When the embryo is adequately developed it hatches, i.e. breaks out of the egg's shell. Some embryos have a temporary egg tooth they use to crack, pip, or break the eggshell or covering.
The largest recorded egg is from a whale shark, and was 30 cm × 14 cm × 9 cm (11.8 in × 5.5 in × 3.5 in) in size. Whale shark eggs typically hatch within the mother. At 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) and up to 17.8 cm × 14 cm (7.0 in × 5.5 in), the ostrich egg is the largest egg of any living bird, though the extinct elephant bird and some dinosaurs laid larger eggs. The bee hummingbird produces the smallest known bird egg, which weighs half of a gram (around 0.02 oz). Some eggs laid by reptiles and most fish, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates can be even smaller.
Several major groups of animals typically have readily distinguishable eggs.
|Class||Types of eggs||Development|
|Jawless fish||Mesolecithal eggs, especially large in hagfish||Larval stage in lampreys, direct development in hagfish.|
|Cartilaginous fish||Macrolecithal eggs with egg capsule||Direct development, viviparity in some species|
|Bony fish||Macrolecithal eggs, small to medium size, large eggs in the coelacanth||Larval stage, ovovivipary in some species.|
|Amphibians||Medium-sized mesolecithal eggs in all species.||Tadpole stage, direct development in some species.|
|Reptiles||Large macrolecithal eggs, develop independent of water.||Direct development, some ovoviviparious|
|Birds||Large to very large macrolecithal eggs in all species, develop independent of water.||The young more or less fully developed, no distinct larval stage.|
|Mammals||Macrolecithal eggs in monotremes and marsupials, extreme microlecithal eggs in placental mammals.||Young little developed with indistinct larval stage in monotremes and marsupials, direct development in placentals.|
The most common reproductive strategy for fish is known as oviparity, in which the female lays undeveloped eggs that are externally fertilized by a male. Typically large numbers of eggs are laid at one time (an adult female cod can produce 4–6 million eggs in one spawning) and the eggs are then left to develop without parental care. When the larvae hatch from the egg, they often carry the remains of the yolk in a yolk sac which continues to nourish the larvae for a few days as they learn how to swim. Once the yolk is consumed, there is a critical point after which they must learn how to hunt and feed or they will die.
A few fish, notably the rays and most sharks use ovoviviparity in which the eggs are fertilized and develop internally. However the larvae still grow inside the egg consuming the egg's yolk and without any direct nourishment from the mother. The mother then gives birth to relatively mature young. In certain instances, the physically most developed offspring will devour its smaller siblings for further nutrition while still within the mother's body. This is known as intrauterine cannibalism.
In certain scenarios, some fish such as the hammerhead shark and reef shark are viviparous, with the egg being fertilized and developed internally, but with the mother also providing direct nourishment.
The eggs of fish and amphibians are jellylike. Cartilagenous fish (sharks, skates, rays, chimaeras) eggs are fertilized internally and exhibit a wide variety of both internal and external embryonic development. Most fish species spawn eggs that are fertilized externally, typically with the male inseminating the eggs after the female lays them. These eggs do not have a shell and would dry out in the air. Even air-breathing amphibians lay their eggs in water, or in protective foam as with the Coast foam-nest treefrog, Chiromantis xerampelina.
Bird eggs are laid by females and incubated for a time that varies according to the species; a single young hatches from each egg. Average clutch sizes range from one (as in condors) to about 17 (the grey partridge). Some birds lay eggs even when not fertilized (e.g. hens); it is not uncommon for pet owners to find their lone bird nesting on a clutch of unfertilized eggs, which are sometimes called wind-eggs.
The default color of vertebrate eggs is the white of the calcium carbonate from which the shells are made, but some birds, mainly passerines, produce colored eggs. The pigment biliverdin and its zinc chelate give a green or blue ground color, and protoporphyrin produces reds and browns as a ground color or as spotting.
Non-passerines typically have white eggs, except in some ground-nesting groups such as the Charadriiformes, sandgrouse and nightjars, where camouflage is necessary, and some parasitic cuckoos which have to match the passerine host's egg. Most passerines, in contrast, lay colored eggs, even if there is no need of cryptic colors.
However some have suggested that the protoporphyrin markings on passerine eggs actually act to reduce brittleness by acting as a solid state lubricant. If there is insufficient calcium available in the local soil, the egg shell may be thin, especially in a circle around the broad end. Protoporphyrin speckling compensates for this, and increases inversely to the amount of calcium in the soil.
For the same reason, later eggs in a clutch are more spotted than early ones as the female's store of calcium is depleted.
The color of individual eggs is also genetically influenced, and appears to be inherited through the mother only, suggesting that the gene responsible for pigmentation is on the sex determining W chromosome (female birds are WZ, males ZZ).
It used to be thought that color was applied to the shell immediately before laying, but this research shows that coloration is an integral part of the development of the shell, with the same protein responsible for depositing calcium carbonate, or protoporphyrins when there is a lack of that mineral.
In species such as the common guillemot, which nest in large groups, each female's eggs have very different markings, making it easier for females to identify their own eggs on the crowded cliff ledges on which they breed.
Bird eggshells are diverse. For example:
Some bird eggshells have a coating of vaterite spherules, which is a rare polymorph of calcium carbonate. In Greater Ani Crotophaga major this vaterite coating is thought to act as a shock absorber, protecting the calcite shell from fracture during incubation, such as colliding with other eggs in the nest.
Most bird eggs have an oval shape, with one end rounded and the other more pointed. This shape results from the egg being forced through the oviduct. Muscles contract the oviduct behind the egg, pushing it forward. The egg's wall is still shapeable, and the pointed end develops at the back. Long, pointy eggs are an incidental consequence of having a streamlined body typical of birds with strong flying abilities; flight narrows the oviduct, which changes the type of egg a bird can lay. Cliff-nesting birds often have highly conical eggs. They are less likely to roll off, tending instead to roll around in a tight circle; this trait is likely to have arisen due to evolution via natural selection. In contrast, many hole-nesting birds have nearly spherical eggs.
Many animals feed on eggs. For example, principal predators of the black oystercatcher's eggs include raccoons, skunks, mink, river and sea otters, gulls, crows and foxes. The stoat (Mustela erminea) and long-tailed weasel (M. frenata) steal ducks' eggs. Snakes of the genera Dasypeltis and Elachistodon specialize in eating eggs.
Brood parasitism occurs in birds when one species lays its eggs in the nest of another. In some cases, the host's eggs are removed or eaten by the female, or expelled by her chick. Brood parasites include the cowbirds and many Old World cuckoos.
Like amphibians, amniotes are air-breathing vertebrates, but they have complex eggs or embryos, including an amniotic membrane. Amniotes include reptiles (including dinosaurs and their descendants, birds) and mammals.
Reptile eggs are often rubbery and are always initially white. They are able to survive in the air. Often the sex of the developing embryo is determined by the temperature of the surroundings, with cooler temperatures favouring males. Not all reptiles lay eggs; some are viviparous ("live birth").
Dinosaurs laid eggs, some of which have been preserved as petrified fossils.
Among mammals, early extinct species laid eggs, as do platypuses and echidnas (spiny anteaters). Platypuses and two genera of echidna are Australian monotremes. Marsupial and placental mammals do not lay eggs, but their unborn young do have the complex tissues that identify amniotes.
The eggs of the egg-laying mammals (the platypus and the echidnas) are macrolecithal eggs very much like those of reptiles. The eggs of marsupials are likewise macrolecithal, but rather small, and develop inside the body of the female, but do not form a placenta. The young are born at a very early stage, and can be classified as a "larva" in the biological sense.
In placental mammals, the egg itself is void of yolk, but develops an umbilical cord from structures that in reptiles would form the yolk sac. Receiving nutrients from the mother, the fetus completes the development while inside the uterus.
All sexually reproducing life, including both plants and animals, produces gametes. The male gamete cell, sperm, is usually motile whereas the female gamete cell, the ovum, is generally larger and sessile. The male and female gametes combine to produce the zygote cell. In multicellular organisms the zygote subsequently divides in an organised manner into smaller more specialised cells, so that this new individual develops into an embryo. In most animals the embryo is the sessile initial stage of the individual life cycle, and is followed by the emergence (that is, the hatching) of a motile stage. The zygote or the ovum itself or the sessile organic vessel containing the developing embryo may be called the egg.
A recent proposal suggests that the phylotypic animal body plans originated in cell aggregates before the existence of an egg stage of development. Eggs, in this view, were later evolutionary innovations, selected for their role in ensuring genetic uniformity among the cells of incipient multicellular organisms.
Scientists often classify animal reproduction according to the degree of development that occurs before the new individuals are expelled from the adult body, and by the yolk which the egg provides to nourish the embryo.
Vertebrate eggs can be classified by the relative amount of yolk. Simple eggs with little yolk are called microlecithal, medium-sized eggs with some yolk are called mesolecithal, and large eggs with a large concentrated yolk are called macrolecithal. This classification of eggs is based on the eggs of chordates, though the basic principle extends to the whole animal kingdom.
Small eggs with little yolk are called microlecithal. The yolk is evenly distributed, so the cleavage of the egg cell cuts through and divides the egg into cells of fairly similar sizes. In sponges and cnidarians the dividing eggs develop directly into a simple larva, rather like a morula with cilia. In cnidarians, this stage is called the planula, and either develops directly into the adult animals or forms new adult individuals through a process of budding.
Microlecithal eggs require minimal yolk mass. Such eggs are found in flatworms, roundworms, annelids, bivalves, echinoderms, the lancelet and in most marine arthropods. In anatomically simple animals, such as cnidarians and flatworms, the fetal development can be quite short, and even microlecithal eggs can undergo direct development. These small eggs can be produced in large numbers. In animals with high egg mortality, microlecithal eggs are the norm, as in bivalves and marine arthropods. However, the latter are more complex anatomically than e.g. flatworms, and the small microlecithal eggs do not allow full development. Instead, the eggs hatch into larvae, which may be markedly different from the adult animal.
In placental mammals, where the embryo is nourished by the mother throughout the whole fetal period, the egg is reduced in size to essentially a naked egg cell.
Mesolecithal eggs have comparatively more yolk than the microlecithal eggs. The yolk is concentrated in one part of the egg (the vegetal pole), with the cell nucleus and most of the cytoplasm in the other (the animal pole). The cell cleavage is uneven, and mainly concentrated in the cytoplasma-rich animal pole.
The larger yolk content of the mesolecithal eggs allows for a longer fetal development. Comparatively anatomically simple animals will be able to go through the full development and leave the egg in a form reminiscent of the adult animal. This is the situation found in hagfish and some snails. Animals with smaller size eggs or more advanced anatomy will still have a distinct larval stage, though the larva will be basically similar to the adult animal, as in lampreys, coelacanth and the salamanders.
Eggs with a large yolk are called macrolecithal. The eggs are usually few in number, and the embryos have enough food to go through full fetal development in most groups. Macrolecithal eggs are only found in selected representatives of two groups: Cephalopods and vertebrates.
Macrolecithal eggs go through a different type of development than other eggs. Due to the large size of the yolk, the cell division can not split up the yolk mass. The fetus instead develops as a plate-like structure on top of the yolk mass, and only envelopes it at a later stage. A portion of the yolk mass is still present as an external or semi-external yolk sac at hatching in many groups. This form of fetal development is common in bony fish, even though their eggs can be quite small. Despite their macrolecithal structure, the small size of the eggs does not allow for direct development, and the eggs hatch to a larval stage ("fry"). In terrestrial animals with macrolecithal eggs, the large volume to surface ratio necessitates structures to aid in transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and for storage of waste products so that the embryo does not suffocate or get poisoned from its own waste while inside the egg, see amniote.
In addition to bony fish and cephalopods, macrolecithal eggs are found in cartilaginous fish, reptiles, birds and monotreme mammals. The eggs of the coelacanths can reach a size of 9 cm in diameter, and the young go through full development while in the uterus, living on the copious yolk.
Animals are commonly classified by their manner of reproduction, at the most general level distinguishing egg-laying (Latin. oviparous) from live-bearing (Latin. viviparous).
These classifications are divided into more detail according to the development that occurs before the offspring are expelled from the adult's body. Traditionally:
The term hemotropic derives from the Latin for blood-feeding, contrasted with histotrophic for tissue-feeding.
Eggs laid by many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Popular choices for egg consumption are chicken, duck, roe, and caviar, but by a wide margin the egg most often humanly consumed is the chicken egg, typically unfertilized.
According to the Kashrut, that is the set of Jewish dietary laws, kosher food may be consumed according to halakha (Jewish law). Kosher meat and milk (or derivatives) cannot be mixed (Deuteronomy 14:21) or stored together. Eggs are considered pareve (neither meat nor dairy) despite being an animal product and can be mixed with either milk or kosher meat. Mayonnaise, for instance, is usually marked "pareve" despite by definition containing egg.
Many vaccines for infectious diseases are produced in fertile chicken eggs. The basis of this technology was the discovery in 1931 by Alice Miles Woodruff and Ernest William Goodpasture at Vanderbilt University that the rickettsia and viruses that cause a variety of diseases will grow in chicken embryos. This enabled the development of vaccines against influenza, chicken pox, smallpox, yellow fever, typhus, Rocky mountain spotted fever and other diseases.
The egg is a symbol of new life and rebirth in many cultures around the world. Christians view Easter eggs as symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A popular Easter tradition in some parts of the world is the decoration of hard-boiled eggs (usually by dyeing, but often by spray-painting). Adults often hide the eggs for children to find, an activity known as an Easter egg hunt. A similar tradition of egg painting exists in areas of the world influenced by the culture of Persia. Before the spring equinox in the Persian New Year tradition (called Norouz), each family member decorates a hard-boiled egg and sets them together in a bowl. The tradition of a dancing egg is held during the feast of Corpus Christi in Barcelona and other Catalan cities since the 16th century. It consists of an emptied egg, positioned over the water jet from a fountain, which starts turning without falling.
Although a food item, eggs are sometimes thrown at houses, cars, or people. This act, known commonly as "egging" in the various English-speaking countries, is a minor form of vandalism and, therefore, usually a criminal offense and is capable of damaging property (egg whites can degrade certain types of vehicle paint) as well as causing serious eye injury. On Halloween, for example, trick or treaters have been known to throw eggs (and sometimes flour) at property or people from whom they received nothing. Eggs are also often thrown in protests, as they are inexpensive and nonlethal, yet very messy when broken.
Egg collecting was a popular hobby in various contexts, including among the first Australians favored this practice. Traditionally, the embryo would be removed before a collector stored the egg shell.
Collecting eggs of wild birds is now banned by many countries and regions in consideration of the threaten to rare species. In the United Kingdom, the practice is prohibited by the Protection of Birds Act 1954 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. On the other hand, ongoing underground trading is becoming a serious issue.
Since the protection of wild bird eggs was regulated, early collections have come to the museums as curiosities. For example, the Australian Museum hosts a collection of about 20,000 registered clutches of eggs, and the collection in Western Australia Museum has been archived in a gallery. Scientists regard egg collections as a good natural-history data, as the details recorded in the collectors' notes have helped them to understand birds' nesting behaviors.
Amniotes (from Greek ἀμνίον amnion, "membrane surrounding the fetus", earlier "bowl in which the blood of sacrificed animals was caught", from ἀμνός amnos, "lamb") are a clade of tetrapod vertebrates comprising the reptiles, birds, and mammals. Amniotes lay their eggs on land or retain the fertilized egg within the mother, and are distinguished from the anamniotes (fishes and amphibians), which typically lay their eggs in water. Older sources, particularly prior to the 20th century, may refer to amniotes as "higher vertebrates" and anamniotes as "lower vertebrates", based on the discredited idea of the evolutionary great chain of being.
Amniotes are tetrapods (descendants of four-limbed and backboned animals) that are characterised by having an egg equipped with an amnion, an adaptation to lay eggs on land rather than in water as the anamniotes (including frogs) typically do. Amniotes include synapsids (mammals along with their extinct kin) and sauropsids (reptiles and birds), as well as their ancestors, back to amphibians. Amniote embryos, whether laid as eggs or carried by the female, are protected and aided by several extensive membranes. In eutherian mammals (such as humans), these membranes include the amniotic sac that surrounds the fetus. These embryonic membranes and the lack of a larval stage distinguish amniotes from tetrapod amphibians.The first amniotes, referred to as "basal amniotes", resembled small lizards and evolved from the amphibian reptiliomorphs about 312 million years ago, in the Carboniferous geologic period. Their eggs could survive out of the water, allowing amniotes to branch out into drier environments. The eggs could also "breathe" and cope with wastes, allowing the eggs and the amniotes themselves to evolve into larger forms.
The amniotic egg represents a critical divergence within the vertebrates, one enabling amniotes to reproduce on dry land—free of the need to return to water for reproduction as required of the amphibians. From this point the amniotes spread around the globe, eventually to become the dominant land vertebrates. Very early in their evolutionary history, basal amniotes diverged into two main lines, the synapsids and the sauropsids, both of which persist into the modern era. The oldest known fossil synapsid is Protoclepsydrops from about 312 million years ago, while the oldest known sauropsid is probably Paleothyris, in the order Captorhinida, from the Middle Pennsylvanian epoch (c. 306–312 million years ago).Balut (food)
Balut ( bə-LOOT, BAH-loot; also spelled as balot) is a developing bird embryo (usually a duck) that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It originated from and is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines. Often served with beer, balut is popular in Southeast Asian countries, such as Laos (khai look; Lao: ໄຂ່ລູກ), Cambodia (pong tia koun; Khmer: ពងទាកូន), Thailand (Khai Khao; Thai: ไข่ข้าว) and Vietnam (Vietnamese: trứng vịt lộn or hột vịt lộn).
The Tagalog and Malay word balot means "wrapped". The length of incubation before the egg is cooked is a matter of local preference, but generally ranges between 14 and 21 days.
The eating of balut is controversial due to religious, animal welfare, and human health concerns.Boiled egg
Boiled eggs are eggs, typically from a chicken, cooked with their shells unbroken, usually by immersion in boiling water. Hard-boiled eggs are cooked so that the egg white and egg yolk both solidify, while soft-boiled eggs may leave the yolk, and sometimes the white, at least partially liquid and raw. Boiled eggs are a popular breakfast food around the world.
Besides a boiling water immersion, there are a few different methods to make boiled eggs. Eggs can also be cooked below the boiling temperature, i.e. coddling, or they can be steamed. The egg timer was named for commonly being used to time the boiling of eggs.Cadbury Creme Egg
A Cadbury Creme Egg is a chocolate confection produced in the shape of an egg, originating from the British chocolatier, Cadbury's. The product consists of a thick chocolate shell, containing a sweet white and yellow fondant filling that mimics the albumen and yolk of a chicken egg. The Creme Egg is the best selling confectionery item between New Year's Day and Easter in the UK, with annual sales in excess of 200 million and a brand value of approximately £55 million. However, in 2016 sales plummeted after the controversial decision to change the recipe from the original Dairy Milk chocolate to a cheaper substitute, with reports of a loss of more than £6m in sales.Creme Eggs are produced by Cadbury UK in Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, by The Hershey Company in the United States and by Cadbury Adams in Canada. They are sold by Mondelēz International in all markets except the US, where the Hershey Company has the local marketing rights. At the Bournville factory in Birmingham, in the UK, they are manufactured at a rate of 1.5 million per day. The Creme Egg was also previously manufactured in New Zealand but, since 2009, they are imported from the UK.
While filled eggs were first manufactured by the Cadbury Brothers in 1923, the Creme Egg in its current form was introduced in 1963. Initially sold as Fry's Creme Eggs (incorporating the Fry's brand), they were renamed "Cadbury's Creme Eggs" in 1971.Chicken or the egg
The chicken or the egg causality dilemma is commonly stated as "which came first: the chicken or the egg?". The dilemma stems from the observation that all chickens hatch from eggs and all chicken eggs are laid by chickens. "Chicken-and-egg" is a metaphoric adjective describing situations where it is not clear which of two events should be considered the cause and which should be considered the effect, to express a scenario of infinite regress, or to express the difficulty of sequencing actions where each seems to depend on others being done first. Plutarch posed the question as a philosophical matter in his essay "The Symposiacs", written in the 1st century CE.Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny (also called the Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare) is a folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. Originating among German Lutherans, the "Easter Hare" originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy, and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus or the Christkind, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holidays. The custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's De ovis paschalibus ('About Easter Eggs') in 1682, referring to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs for the children.Easter egg
Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are eggs that are sometimes decorated. They are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs wrapped in colored foil, hand-carved wooden eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as chocolate. However, real eggs continue to be used in Central and Eastern European tradition. Although eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, in Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, from which Jesus resurrected. In addition, one ancient tradition was the staining of Easter eggs with the colour red "in memory of the blood of Christ, shed as at that time of his crucifixion." This custom of the Easter egg can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia, and from there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches. This Christian use of eggs may have been influenced by practices in "pre-dynastic period in Egypt, as well as amid the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete."Easter egg (media)
In computer software and media, an Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work. It is usually found in a computer program, video game, or DVD/Blu-ray Disc menu screen. The name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt. The term was coined to describe a hidden message in the Atari video game Adventure that encouraged the player to find further hidden messages in later games, leading them on a 'hunt'.Egg as food
Some eggs are laid by female animals of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish, and have been eaten by humans for thousands of years. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen (egg white), and vitellus (egg yolk), contained within various thin membranes. The most commonly consumed eggs are chicken eggs. Other poultry eggs including those of duck and quail also are eaten. Fish eggs are called roe and caviar.
Egg yolks and whole eggs store significant amounts of protein and choline, and are widely used in cookery. Due to their protein content, the United States Department of Agriculture formerly categorized eggs as Meats within the Food Guide Pyramid (now MyPlate). Despite the nutritional value of eggs, there are some potential health issues arising from cholesterol content, salmonella contamination, and allergy to egg proteins.
Chickens and other egg-laying creatures are kept widely throughout the world and mass production of chicken eggs is a global industry. In 2009, an estimated 62.1 million metric tons of eggs were produced worldwide from a total laying flock of approximately 6.4 billion hens. There are issues of regional variation in demand and expectation, as well as current debates concerning methods of mass production. In 2012, the European Union banned battery husbandry of chickens.Egg cell
The egg cell, or ovum (plural ova), is the female reproductive cell (gamete) in oogamous organisms. The egg cell is typically not capable of active movement, and it is much larger (visible to the naked eye) than the motile sperm cells. When egg and sperm fuse, a diploid cell (the zygote) is formed, which rapidly grows into a new organism.Egg hunt
An egg hunt is a game during which decorated eggs or Easter eggs are hidden for children to find. Real hard-boiled eggs, which are typically dyed or painted, artificial eggs made of plastic filled with chocolate or candies, or foil-wrapped egg-shaped chocolates of various sizes are hidden in various places. The game is often played outdoors, but can also be played indoors. The children typically collect the eggs in a basket. When the hunt is over, prizes may be given out for various achievements, such as the largest number of eggs collected, for the largest or smallest egg, for the most eggs of a specific color, consolation prizes or booby prizes. Real eggs may further be used in egg tapping contests. If eggs filled with confetti left from Mardi Gras (cascarones) are used, then an egg fight may follow. Eggs are placed with varying degree of concealment, to accommodate children of varying ages and development levels. In South German folk traditions it was customary to add extra obstacles to the game by placing them into hard-to reach places among nettles or thorns.Eggnog
Eggnog , egg nog or egg-nog, historically also known (when alcoholic beverages are added) as milk punch or egg milk punch, is a rich, chilled, sweetened, dairy-based beverage. It is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks (which gives it a frothy texture, and its name). In some contexts, distilled spirits such as brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon are added to the drink.
Throughout Canada and the United States, eggnog is traditionally consumed over Christmas season every year, from late November until the end of the holiday season. Eggnog has also gained popularity in Australia. A variety called Ponche Crema has been made and consumed in Venezuela and Trinidad since the 1900s, also as part of the Christmas season. During that time, commercially prepared eggnog is sold in grocery stores in these countries.
Eggnog is also homemade using milk, eggs, sugar, and flavorings, and served with cinnamon or nutmeg. While eggnog is often served chilled, in some cases it is warmed, particularly on cold days (similar to the way mulled wine is served warm). Eggnog or eggnog flavoring may also be used in other drinks, such as coffee (e.g. an "eggnog latte" espresso drink) and tea, or to dessert foods such as egg-custard puddings.Eggplant
Eggplant (US), aubergine (UK), or brinjal (South Asia and South Africa) is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae, Solanum melongena, grown for its often purple edible fruit.
The spongy, absorbent fruit of the plant is widely used in cooking in many different cuisines, and is often considered a vegetable, even though it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato and the potato. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but, like the potato, it is not advisable to eat it raw. Eggplant is nutritionally low in macronutrient and micronutrient content, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking expands its use in the culinary arts.
It was originally domesticated from the wild nightshade species thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum, probably with two independent domestications: one in South Asia, and one in East Asia.Fabergé egg
A Fabergé egg (Russian: Яйца Фаберже́, yaytsa faberzhe) is a jewelled egg (possibly numbering as many as 69, of which 57 survive today) created by the House of Fabergé, in St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia. Virtually all were manufactured under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé between 1885 and 1917, the most famous being the 50 "Imperial" eggs, 43 of which survive, made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers.In vitro fertilisation
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in vitro ("in glass"). The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory. After the fertilised egg (zygote) undergoes embryo culture for 2–6 days, it is implanted in the same or another woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology used for infertility treatment and gestational surrogacy. A fertilised egg may be implanted into a surrogate's uterus, and the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate. Some countries banned or otherwise regulate the availability of IVF treatment, giving rise to fertility tourism. Restrictions on the availability of IVF include costs and age, in order for a woman to carry a healthy pregnancy to term. IVF is generally not used until less invasive or expensive options have failed or been determined unlikely to work.
In 1978 Louise Brown was the first child successfully born after her mother received IVF treatment. Brown was born as a result of natural-cycle IVF, where no stimulation was made. The procedure took place at Dr Kershaw's Cottage Hospital (now Dr Kershaw's Hospice) in Royton, Oldham, England. Robert G. Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010. The physiologist co-developed the treatment together with Patrick Steptoe and embryologist Jean Purdy but the latter two were not eligible for consideration as they had died and the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously.
With egg donation and IVF, women who are past their reproductive years, have infertile male partners, have idiopathic female-fertility issues, or have reached menopause, can still become pregnant. Adriana Iliescu held the record as the oldest woman to give birth using IVF and donated egg, when she gave birth in 2004 at the age of 66, a record passed in 2006. After the IVF treatment, some couples get pregnant without any fertility treatments. In 2018 it was estimated that eight million children had been born worldwide using IVF and other assisted reproduction techniques.Phoenix (mythology)
In Greek mythology, a phoenix (; Ancient Greek: φοῖνιξ, phoînix) is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again.
Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again. There are different traditions concerning the lifespan of the phoenix, but by most accounts the phoenix lived for 500 years before rebirth. Herodotus, Lucan, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Lactantius, Ovid, and Isidore of Seville are among those who have contributed to the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif.
In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was associated with Phoenicia, (modern Lebanon), a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells.
In the historical record, the phoenix "could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the Empire, metempsychosis, consecration, resurrection, life in the heavenly Paradise, Christ, Mary, virginity, the exceptional man, and certain aspects of Christian life".Spider
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs able to inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization. As of November 2015, at least 45,700 spider species, and 113 families have been recorded by taxonomists. However, there has been dissension within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900.Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure.
Their abdomens bear appendages that have been modified into spinnerets that extrude silk from up to six types of glands. Spider webs vary widely in size, shape and the amount of sticky thread used. It now appears that the spiral orb web may be one of the earliest forms, and spiders that produce tangled cobwebs are more abundant and diverse than orb-web spiders. Spider-like arachnids with silk-producing spigots appeared in the Devonian period about 386 million years ago, but these animals apparently lacked spinnerets. True spiders have been found in Carboniferous rocks from 318 to 299 million years ago, and are very similar to the most primitive surviving suborder, the Mesothelae. The main groups of modern spiders, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, first appeared in the Triassic period, before 200 million years ago.
The species Bagheera kiplingi was described as herbivorous in 2008, but all other known species are predators, mostly preying on insects and on other spiders, although a few large species also take birds and lizards. It is estimated that the world's 25 million tons of spiders kill 400–800 million tons of prey per year. Spiders use a wide range of strategies to capture prey: trapping it in sticky webs, lassoing it with sticky bolas, mimicking the prey to avoid detection, or running it down. Most detect prey mainly by sensing vibrations, but the active hunters have acute vision, and hunters of the genus Portia show signs of intelligence in their choice of tactics and ability to develop new ones. Spiders' guts are too narrow to take solids, so they liquefy their food by flooding it with digestive enzymes. They also grind food with the bases of their pedipalps, as arachnids do not have the mandibles that crustaceans and insects have.
To avoid being eaten by the females, which are typically much larger, male spiders identify themselves to potential mates by a variety of complex courtship rituals. Males of most species survive a few matings, limited mainly by their short life spans. Females weave silk egg-cases, each of which may contain hundreds of eggs. Females of many species care for their young, for example by carrying them around or by sharing food with them. A minority of species are social, building communal webs that may house anywhere from a few to 50,000 individuals. Social behavior ranges from precarious toleration, as in the widow spiders, to co-operative hunting and food-sharing. Although most spiders live for at most two years, tarantulas and other mygalomorph spiders can live up to 25 years in captivity.
While the venom of a few species is dangerous to humans, scientists are now researching the use of spider venom in medicine and as non-polluting pesticides. Spider silk provides a combination of lightness, strength and elasticity that is superior to that of synthetic materials, and spider silk genes have been inserted into mammals and plants to see if these can be used as silk factories. As a result of their wide range of behaviors, spiders have become common symbols in art and mythology symbolizing various combinations of patience, cruelty and creative powers. An abnormal fear of spiders is called arachnophobia.Yolk
Among animals which produce one, the yolk (also known as the vitellus) is the nutrient-bearing portion of the egg whose primary function is to supply food for the development of the embryo. Some kinds of egg contain no yolk, for example because they are laid in situations where the food supply is sufficient (such as in the body of the host of a parasitoid) or because the embryo develops in the parent's body, which supplies the food, usually through a placenta. Reproductive systems in which the mother's body supplies the embryo directly are said to be matrotrophic; those in which the embryo is supplied by yolk are said to be lecithotrophic. In many species, such as all birds, and most reptiles and insects, the yolk takes the form of a special storage organ constructed in the reproductive tract of the mother. In many other animals, especially very small species such as some fishes and invertebrates, the yolk material is not in a special organ, but inside the ovum.
As stored food, yolks are often rich in vitamins, minerals, lipids and proteins. The proteins function partly as food in their own right, and partly in controlling the storage and supply of the other nutrients. For example, in some species the amount of yolk in an egg cell affects the developmental processes that follow fertilization.
The yolk is not living cell material like protoplasm, but largely passive material, that is to say deutoplasm. The food material and associated control structures are supplied during oogenesis. Some of the material is stored more or less in the form in which the maternal body supplied it, partly as processed by dedicated non-germ tissues in the egg, while part of the biosynthetic processing into its final form happens in the oocyte itself.Apart from animals, other organisms, like algae, specially in the oogamous, can also accumulate resources in their female gametes. In gymnosperms, the remains of the female gametophyte serve also as food supply, and in flowering plants, the endosperm.Zygote
A zygote (from Greek ζυγωτός zygōtos "joined" or "yoked", from ζυγοῦν zygoun "to join" or "to yoke") is a eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between two gametes. The zygote's genome is a combination of the DNA in each gamete, and contains all of the genetic information necessary to form a new individual. In multicellular organisms, the zygote is the earliest developmental stage. In single-celled organisms, the zygote can divide asexually by mitosis to produce identical offspring.
Oscar Hertwig and Richard Hertwig made some of the first discoveries on animal zygote formation.