Researchers have discovered a universal mathematical formula that can describe any bird’s egg existing in nature — a significant step in understanding not only the egg shape itself, but also how and why it evolved, thus making widespread biological and technological applications possible.
The egg, as one of the most traditional food products, has long attracted the attention of mathematicians, engineers, and biologists from an analytical point of view. As a main parameter in oomorphology, the shape of a bird’s egg has, to date, escaped a universally applicable mathematical formulation. Analysis of all egg shapes can be done using four geometric figures: sphere, ellipsoid, ovoid, and pyriform (conical or pear-shaped). The first three have a clear mathematical definition, each derived from the expression of the previous, but a formula for the pyriform profile has yet to be derived. To rectify this, the researchers have introduced an additional function into the ovoid formula.
The subsequent mathematical model fits a completely novel geometric shape that can be characterized as the last stage in the evolution of the sphere—ellipsoid—Hügelschäffer’s ovoid transformation, and it is applicable to any egg geometry. The required measurements are the egg length, maximum breadth, and diameter at the terminus from the pointed end. This mathematical analysis and description represents the sought-for universal formula and is a significant step in understanding not only the egg shape itself, but also how and why it evolved, thus making widespread biological and technological applications theoretically possible.
Source (University of Kent. “A universal equation for the shape of an egg.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2021.)
Original paper: Narushin, V.G., Romanov, M.N. and Griffin, D.K., 2021. Egg and math: introducing a universal formula for egg shape. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.