SAY WHAT? SEAGULL CHICKS CAN COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER FROM ONE EGG TO ANOTHER?
So much for human transcendence. This possible finding even shocks the hell out of me. And I want to believe the fantastic when and wherever possible. “The truth is out there,” right? Well now, the truth may just be in there. Well, in seagull eggs, anyway. A recent scientific study suggests that seagull chicks (or embryos) can actually communicate things to each other, from one egg to another, thru the eggshells. Now that’s some crazy stuff right there. But what shall we call this possible phenomenon? Please, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Talking Over Hard.
SCIENTISTS LOOK TO PROVE CHICKS CAN TALK TO EACH OTHER THRU EGGSHELLS
But there’s more, of course. Another study also found strong evidence that the parent gulls can actually communicate with their offspring before they hatch, as well. But researchers then wondered, can the seagull chicks talk to each other thru their eggshells, too? So they made the effort to find out. But that’s science. Find a question and try to answer it. But in this case, the question was whether a nearby predator would have an impact on traits of all the eggs in the same clutch, at the same time.
EMBRYOS TO BE SUBJECTED TO NATURAL RESPONSE INDUCING ALARM FOR PREDATORS
So they focused on a Spanish colony of yellow-legged gulls. If it looks familiar, that’s because they look a lot like the big grey-backed North American herring gulls we see all over the place here in the US. But the Spanish gulls have a very specific behavior response when a predator is nearby. They crouch and freeze. I know, doesn’t’ sound too good. But what about when there are no predators nearby for several years? The seagulls’ response would fade or lessen. But the chicks would depend on their parents alarm calls to know what to do.
TWO EGGS HEARD THE ALARM, THEN SOMEHOW TOLD THE THIRD EGG WHEN REUNITED
So how did the study work? The researchers took a set of three eggs and isolated two of them for a time and played the adult predator alarm call. Sure enough, the 3rd egg also showed an increased crouch and freeze response, meaning the other two eggs somehow communicated the danger to it. And before you ask, yes, there were several other control groups (of eggs) that heard no alarm calls. Let’s just say, they didn’t crouch and freeze as well. Cool stuff! Embryos talking thru eggshells. Amazing.