Live Fish Discovered in Duck Egg

image Biologists at the University of Manchester were on a field trip to the French Alps when they found a duck egg in a small pond. Noticing its movement, they cracked it open, to discover three live minnows inside.

The scientists, despite their combined knowledge of the natural world, are at a loss as to how the fish got inside the visibly uncracked egg.

Dr Matthew Cobb, a lecturer in animal behaviour at the university, said: "As 21st century scientists rather than 17th century antiquarians we think it's unlikely this represents a hitherto unknown mode of fish reproduction."

Dr Cobb and his colleague have written to the magazine New Scientist to see if any reader can come up with the solution.

(Thanks, Iridium and Yashca.)


Posted on Mon Sep 25, 2006


This was also posted earlier 9/23/06 on the forum:
Posted by hulitoons  in  Abingdon, Maryland  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  12:30 PM
Wow, that seems to be magick doesn
Posted by hulitoons  in  Abingdon, Maryland  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  12:31 PM
Those are not new-born, or even very young, fish in the photo. If the egg shell was really unbroken, the story seems impossible. I'm calling it a hoax, either by the "biologists" themselves or by someone playing a prank on them.
Posted by Big Gary, MoHDCICOF  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  12:59 PM
I'm with Big Gary on this.

Also, I'm just a layman, but the "duck egg" looks an awful lot like a chicken egg. And, since there was reportedly no egg innards, why on earth would you call it a "duck egg"?
Posted by JoeDaJuggler  in  St. Louis, MO  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  02:37 PM
You see, when a duck and a minnow really love one another...

I'm actually tempted to think that the eggshell wasn't unbroken, speaking from experiance, one rarely checks carefully for cracks when they pick up a random egg they find lying about.

I'm going to actually assume that there allready a small crack or fissure in the egg that they missed, where minnows could have entered and, finding a tiny hiding spot full of delicious and nutritious egg goo and duck fetus, proceeded to gorge themselves and trap themselves inside their tastey, tastey prison.

It's a bit of a streach, though. :/ That, or somebody's just messing around.
Posted by Agatha  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  03:48 PM
I have to agree with JoeDaJuggler, it really does look like a chicken's egg, and it really does not seem possible to have three full-grown minnows trapped in a fowl's egg, so I'm saying it's got to be a prank.
Posted by Spoon Man  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  04:24 PM
Well.. were.nt they lucky?

Almost too lucky... ooohhh I am a cynic
Posted by Peter  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  05:02 PM
It's obviously someone's idea of a yolk
Posted by Shelley  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  08:41 PM
I like Agatha's theory.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Sep 26, 2006  at  12:44 AM
Looks like a duck egg to me, but I still call hoax. My guess is that they want to see what daft and implausible (or outlandish yet just-about-plausible) ideas readers of NS come up with - at which point they'll be all 'ha ha, you suckers, you have had the foolishness pulled over your eyes!'
Posted by outeast  on  Tue Sep 26, 2006  at  02:39 AM
Does look like a true duck-egg (right size, shape, colour).

Fish cannot live without water containing oxygen though. So the eggshell must have been open to fresh water, if the story is to be believed.

In all, I vote for a hoax.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Tue Sep 26, 2006  at  07:00 AM
It's a duck egg, unless the person holding it is either a kid, a dwarf or someone with very small hands.

I don't have an issue with how they could have ended up there in the first place, I just have an issue with how three of them cohabitated that small space long enough to grow that big.

I don't know what type of minnow the fish are ("minnow" is almost a generic term), and I have no idea what type of minnows live in the UK. If we're talking about some sort of shiner, than the fish in the shell would have to be full grown. Depending on species, they can take up to a year to reach that size.

If they are a larger species - some type of carp or something, then the fish shown in the shell are still babies, which is a little more conceivable.

Since the egg was found IN the pond, and not in a nest outside of the pond, the egg obviously met with some sort of fowl play (heh, me funny) that conceivably compromised the integrity of the shell. For water to have entered the shell in the first place, it HAD to have been cracked somewhere.

So you are a little speck of a fry and you find this leaking orb of deliciousness, you and your buddys check it out, discover that not only does it provide a seemingly unlimited food source, but offers safe haven from predators.....why leave? They will eat the membrane too.

I can see how it COULD happen - the crack wouldn't have to be very big for the teeny tiny fry to enter the shell. I just don't see how all three could live in harmony in such a small space without killing each other. While I supose it's possible, if they had found one live fish in the egg, or three dead fish, I'd be less inclined to dismiss it.
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Tue Sep 26, 2006  at  09:36 AM
Duck eggs don't necessarily look very different from chicken eggs. I saw them at a farmer's market once; they were more or less like chicken eggs, just a bit larger (and it's not that unusual to find escaped domestic ducks hanging out at ponds).
Posted by Ledasmom  on  Tue Sep 26, 2006  at  10:20 AM
Perhaps during wild unprotected ducky sex, three previously fertilized fish eggs somehow ended up inside mother duck and a duck egg formed around them. It would have been nice and warm and full of nutrients, a fine place for the fish eggs to hatch. The fishlings would have had plenty of food, and the egg shell would have allowed some oxygen to permeate in (the fish's oxygen needs would have been very small, given their immobility). As soon as mother duck realized the egg wasn't right, she would have tossed it out of the nest into the water.
Improbable, but it's better than aliens.
Posted by rikitara  on  Tue Sep 26, 2006  at  11:41 AM
Very interesting.
I think the NewScientist letter is more telling.

Unlike the BBC report, it states that students found the egg. I'm guessing hoax.
But the puzzling part is..They're biologists at an impressive university, why wouldn't they notice this for a hoax, why risk their jobs, and why the hell ask NewScientist's -readers- for help?
I agree with Outeast, I think they're screwing with NS for some reason.
Posted by KeaponLaffin  on  Sat Sep 30, 2006  at  04:18 AM
notice the small thin organic line which looks like a leg to me. The fish in the form fish eggs could have seeped through a small fisure in the egg that sealed with aid from water pressure like hulitoons suggestedjust a thought.
Posted by mandlore  on  Fri Oct 06, 2006  at  03:58 PM
What a great way to generate site traffic.

I particularly like the line
"feel free to submit suggestions as to how this might have happened."

These guys aren't scientists - they are Web Marketers - Good Job guys!
Posted by mike  on  Tue Oct 10, 2006  at  08:36 AM
ya right they just put the fish in there
Posted by kjlbdgfdsfdfjhfdjhgdgfkjlgfkjg  on  Sat Jan 20, 2007  at  03:14 PM
ha ha that sucks it's just a big hoax, cause i was the one who put the small fish in there 😛 ha ha
Posted by dabomb  on  Sat Feb 24, 2007  at  06:19 PM
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