Turtle embryos find the sunny spot
Wei-Guo Du from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found that the embryos of soft-shelled turtles “bask” inside their eggs. “People usually think reptilian embryos are immobile,” says Du. After all, their limbs are tiny stumps and they have few places to move to. But that doesn’t stop them. Du found that the embryos can not only move, but they can snuggle up to the warmest side of their eggs.
He collected 260 eggs from a local turtle farm, placed them in individual jars and warmed them with heat lamps. The eggs were about one degree Celsius warmer on the sides closest to the lamps, and the turtles could sense this. After a few days, they had pressed up against the warmer side. When Du moved the heat lamps around, the embryos followed.
“To our knowledge, no previous study has looked for this ability, presumably because embryos were thought incapable of such behaviour,” says Du.
Another good example of why scientists should provide images or video with their papers as often as possible. I would have skipped right over this if not for that great photo.