Recent research suggests that among birds, we can observe a phenomenon that looks like science fiction, namely embryos found in eggs can communicate with each other.
Of course, we all know that chick communication is at the highest level and we can easily hear when they demand food from their parents, but according to researchers they can do much more, that is, communicate with each other while still in eggs, and this form of communication is supposed to affect behavioral and psychological characteristics of newly hatched individuals from one hatch. It is true that a long time ago we managed to prove that birds and other oviparous creatures receive sensory information by the shell, designed to prepare them for life outside the egg, but the latest discovery is something more.
New research by the Spanish University of Vigo suggests that the gull embryos are able to obtain the necessary information not only in the classic way, but also from their siblings, still in eggs. In recent years, a lot has been said about small turtles communicating with each other about common hatching, and some birds and reptiles can do the same because of the sounds sent out from inside the shell, but we still have not answered the question whether these chats between eggs serve more.
Researchers have found that embryos not only hear and respond to their parents ’emergency calls, but are also completely different from hatchlings in behavioral and developmental terms, from chicks who were not able to hear their parents’ calls. This is very interesting in itself, but that’s not all, because when we put an egg that has been subjected to the factors mentioned here, among other eggs that it did not experience, they also show the changes described above, which means that embryos can communicate with each other, most likely using vibrations.
To confirm their theory, scientists simply collected 90 eggs from the nest of a Roman gull on the island of Salvora, which they divided into groups of 3 in the laboratory and placed in special incubators. Then 4 times a day, two eggs from each group were stimulated to suggest the presence of a predator, and then put aside – of course there were also test groups. After hatching, it turned out that embryos that were in one nest with eggs subjected to sound stimulation behaved in the same way as siblings, although they did not hear these sounds themselves. What’s more, the chicks hatched longer, they were quieter, they were more cowering when they saw the threat, they were smaller and had shorter legs. In short, they developed certain defensive features, as if they had heard warning signals themselves, so the only option is to share information between embryos.