Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evolutionary Proof That (eating) The Chicken Came Before The Egg

Date:
April 13, 2006
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
In a new study from the May issue of the American Naturalist, Alan de Queiroz and Javier Rodriguez-Robles (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) test Darwin's theory that many current traits can be explained by the ancestral lineage of a species. For instance, predators that have evolved a taste for a certain prey, can go on to develop a taste for the prey's eggs.

In a new study from the May issue of the American Naturalist, Alan de Queiroz and Javier Rodriguez-Robles (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) test Darwin's theory that many current traits can be explained by the ancestral lineage of a species. For instance, predators that have evolved a taste for a certain prey, can go on to develop a taste for the prey's eggs.

"Feeding on the eggs of birds or of squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) tends to occur in lineages that already feed on birds or squamates," explain the authors. Specifically, the researchers examined snakes that have specialized in eating eggs, finding that, in this case, the chicken came before the egg.

The researchers compared the family tree for four snake species that specialize in eating eggs and found that their ancestors originally ate the lizards that lay the eggs. It might just be that the eggs are in the same location, but there is another possibility. Snakes use chemical cues to recognize prey, and the authors suggest that these snakes may recognize eggs as potential food because of the chemical similarities between eggs and the corresponding animals, just as some insects are attracted to novel food plants that share chemicals with the insects' typical food sources.

"The effects of predispositions on the origins of egg-eating and, ultimately, the evolution of highly specialized egg-eating taxa, represent subtle but important historical influences on the present-day attributes of species," conclude the authors.

Alan de Queiroz and Javier A. Rodriguez-Robles. "Historical contingency and animal diets: the origins of egg-eating in snakes," The American Naturalist 167:5.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Evolutionary Proof That (eating) The Chicken Came Before The Egg." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060412221532.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2006, April 13). Evolutionary Proof That (eating) The Chicken Came Before The Egg. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060412221532.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Evolutionary Proof That (eating) The Chicken Came Before The Egg." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060412221532.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins