Cracking the Eggshell’s Secret

Audio Version

Humans have known about eggshells for—oh, about 6,000 years. Yet even such a common, plain object still discloses unseen secrets. Recently scientists looked at how the chicken’s eggshell is tough enough to protect the chick while it’s developing, yet soft enough for the chick to break through when the time comes to hatch.

They discovered that a protein binds calcium in the eggshell’s outer two layers to keep them strong until the end of incubation. Then the inner layer loses calcium, softening the eggshell and making it easier for the chick to break through. What happens to the calcium? It gets absorbed into the chick’s bones to make them stronger.

How amazing that undirected evolution would produce such an exquisitely timed and economical process—or could it be an all-wise Creator who thinks of everything?

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November–December 2018

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