Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Reader in Biodiversity and Ecosystems



+44 (0)20 7594 1059j.tobias




KennedySilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Stoddard, MC and Yong, EH and Akkaynak, D and Sheard, C and Tobias, JA and Mahadevan, L},
doi = {10.1126/science.aaj1945},
journal = {Science},
pages = {1249--1254},
title = {Avian egg shape: Form, function, and evolution},
url = {},
volume = {356},
year = {2017}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Avian egg shape is generally explained as an adaptation to life history, yet we currently lack a global synthesis of how egg-shape differences arise and evolve. Here, we apply morphometric, mechanistic, and macroevolutionary analyses to the egg shapes of 1400 bird species. We characterize egg-shape diversity in terms of two biologically relevant variables, asymmetry and ellipticity, allowing us to quantify the observed morphologies in a two-dimensional morphospace. We then propose a simple mechanical model that explains the observed egg-shape diversity based on geometric and material properties of the egg membrane. Finally, using phylogenetic models, we show that egg shape correlates with flight ability on broad taxonomic scales, suggesting that adaptations for flight may have been critical drivers of egg-shape variation in birds.
AU - Stoddard,MC
AU - Yong,EH
AU - Akkaynak,D
AU - Sheard,C
AU - Tobias,JA
AU - Mahadevan,L
DO - 10.1126/science.aaj1945
EP - 1254
PY - 2017///
SN - 0036-8075
SP - 1249
TI - Avian egg shape: Form, function, and evolution
T2 - Science
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 356
ER -