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Researchers document aviary eggshell with iridescence for the first time

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Posted December 11, 2014

A team of researchers with members from New Zealand, Czech Republic and the U.S. has documented for the first time an example of an aviary egg that has iridescence. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the team describes their study of eggs laid by great tinamou, which revealed the nature of the egg coloring.

Researchers document aviary eggshell with iridescence for the first time

Photographs (a–c) of T. major, E. elegans and N. maculosa nests. Average length breadth of eggs (a–c): 58 48 mm, 53 39 mm and 40 29 mm. Photo credits: Karsten Thomsen, Sam Houston and Shirley Sekarajasingham. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Published 10 December 2014 . DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1210

Bird eggs come in a wide variety of colors, which scientists suspect is nature’s way of keeping them hidden so that other animals won’t come along and eat them. Prior research has found that most egg coloring is due to just two different pigments. In this new study, the researchers took a closer look at the shiny blue eggs laid by great tinamou, better known in Central and South America, where they live, as “mountain hen.”

In investigating the eggs, the researchers found that they were iridescent—they look to be different colors depending on the angle they are viewed from—a first for an avianeggshell.

Read more at: Phys.org

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