Overturning Evolutionary Doctrine

July 3, 2019
Eggs by Nicholas Blumhardt on Flickr

In a new study in Nature, Cassandra Extavour and her lab disprove an old hypothesis and prove a new one. Extavour says insects make up 80 percent of all animal species on Earth. She and PhD students, Sam Church, Seth Donoughe ('18), and Bruno de Medeiros analyzed a large data set to challenge the untested assumptions about egg size in insects. Across all insects, the team found no universal scaling, no restriction of certain shape eggs to certain sizes, no evidence that larger eggs take longer to develop. Looking at 3,000 papers dating back to 300 years, the team was able to prove egg size and shape is more a product of the ecology the animal inhabits. The study was featured in The Harvard Gazette and Nature featured an in-depth interview with Prof. Extavour.

 
Image: Eggs by Nicholas Blumhardt on Flickr