Article: Why are eggs egg-shaped? Print

why-eggs-are-egg-shaped-300This question seems like a tough one to crack, but scientists have one very sensible theory: the ovoid shape gives an egg its incredible strength! You can see this amazing power firsthand with a simple experiment.

First, remove any rings on your fingers and slip on a rubber glove. Then wrap your fingers around an egg and squeeze really, really hard while trying to apply equal pressure to all sides of the egg. If this demonstration is done correctly, even Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t crack it. Why? Because of something the egg has in common with famous works of architecture like the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.

This monument has survived for nearly 2,000 years because it’s shaped like a three-dimensional arch, a domed, egg-like shape that’s one of the strongest architectural designs in the world. When an object is placed on top of it, no single point in the dome supports the entire weight; instead, the object’s heaviness is carried down along the curved walls to the dome’s wide base. This, of course, works best when you apply similar pressure to all sides of the dome. If your egg breaks, it’s most likely because one of your fingers applied greater pressure to the shell than the others.

Many scientists also believe that the egg is shaped the way it is because this enables it to roll in a circular path along its most pointed end (which really comes in handy for birds laying eggs in high places; there’s far less danger of the egg rolling out of its nest). Additionally, the ovoid shape is probably a lot more comfortable for a bird to lay than, say, a sphere or a cylinder. But whatever the reasons for an egg’s shape, we can all be grateful for it–I mean, how else would it fit into egg cups and containers in our refrigerator doors?

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