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61106.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:02 am Reply with quote

Question: Which animal holds the record for laying the largest egg?

Forfeit: Ostrich

Answer: The Whale Shark.

The Ostrich gets all the credit for laying the world’s largest eggs, it’s eggs can be up to 19cm in length, which dwarfs most other bird eggs - though it should be noted that the ostrich actually lays the smallest eggs in comparison to its body size.

That said, it shouldn’t be forgotten that there are plenty of animals other than birds who reproduce oviparously.

The largest egg ever found was a whale shark egg, found by Mexican trawlers in 1953, this egg was 30cm long 14 cm wide and 9 cm thick, but due to the rarity of whale-shark eggs, the thinness of the egg-walls and the lack of tendrils, there was controversy as to whether or not whale-sharks were true egg-layers or whether this example was an aborted egg.

The debate continued until 1995 when Taiwanese scientists examined a pregnant whale shark which had been harpooned by fishermen, it was found that whale shark embryos emerge from their egg-cases while in their mothers body, and therefore that whale sharks are actually live-bearers.

However, even if you don’t count that Whale Shark egg, the ostrich still doesn’t get a look-in, there are plenty of other sea-faring animals who trump the ostrich’s 19cm, including the zebra-shark, who incidentally is spotty, not stripy for most of its life - the Port Jackson Shark, who lays corkscrew-shaped eggs which much to the difficulty of divers comes in right-hand and left-hand screw. And the rays and skates whose eggs are often washed up on the East Scottish coast every year.


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