Egg Incubation Mechanics of Giant Birds
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Department of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Degree Program of Genome and Systems Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Alireza Dolatshahi-Pirouz
Received: 30 June 2021
Revised: 28 July 2021
Accepted: 29 July 2021
Published: 1 August 2021
Extinct giant birds have been a source of imagination, and knowledge of their incubation mechanics is crucial to our understanding of the evolution of avian reproduction. Despite the extensive studies on avian eggs, our understanding of the eggshell mechanics of giant birds, particularly the extinct ones, remains incomplete—most of these prior works were based on empirical or allometric relationships with limited quantitative analysis. In the present study, with the help of advanced three-dimensional computer simulation using data from published fossil records, we obtain more comprehensive quantitative analysis to answer important questions related to contact incubation of giant birds. Specifically, how much safety margin does the reversed sexual size dimorphism (RSSD) of moas provide? What is the theoretical upper limit of body mass for contact incubation? Is the Williams’ egg, or the putative Genyornis oological material (PGOM), really the egg of the extinct giant bird Genyornis newtoni, as commonly accepted since its discovery in 1981?