Examining reptile eggs: from evolution to biomimicry

Pairi Daiza supports the research of Gerben Debruyn, a doctoral student at Ghent University. He is studying the fascinating diversity of reptile eggs. From the calcified eggs of turtles to the more flexible eggs of snakes and lizards, these structures reveal a unique adaptation to different environments.

By analyzing eggshells (not intended for reproduction), carefully collected and preserved by the caretakers of Pairi Daiza for several months, Gerben Debruyn is investigating how the calcium content and thickness of the shell influence their flexibility and function, an essential approach to understanding species adaptation to ecological changes. His aim is to determine how morphology and chemical composition affect the survival and development of the embryo. His research also aims to elucidate the antimicrobial properties of eggs, a crucial aspect for the protection of the embryo in sometimes hostile environments. He also explores the evolution of egg architecture and how it may have influenced the diversification of reptile lineages. Finally, his work may serve as inspiration for the development of new biomimetic materials, leveraging the unique properties discovered in reptile eggs.


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