Biology: Egg Communication

Observant biologists have long known that among such game birds as quail, partridge, pheasant and grouse, all the eggs in a nest tend to hatch at about the same time—even though they were laid several hours apart. The value of the phenomenon seems obvious: it enables the mother bird to leave the nest for food and protect her brood without worrying about any unhatched eggs. But how is the hatching synchronization achieved? No one has known. Now it appears that scientists were simply not listening hard enough to hear the obvious answer.

Working with nests of quail eggs, Cambridge University...

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