Ever walk in on your parents? That’s why we lay eggs.


In the human experience, no image burns itself more ruthlessly into the back of one's eyes than that of one's parents in flagrante delicto. This says something commendable about the species. Many species lack the delicacy, and see their parents' copulation as an opportunity: Hang on, mom, I'm next! And still others see mating as a kind of dinner bell–once the male has spent, his task on earth is over. Then he is nothing more than a meal waiting to happen.  

In this rare instance, the noble insect shares the view of Thinking homo. To prevent innocent youngsters from being scarred forever by sloppy parents, we needed something more foolproof than a door that is supposed to lock, but sometimes doesn't. We decided on: the egg.

Of course many species lay eggs. But we chose the egg as a remedy after an event that proved to be so traumatic that it was put on display 165 million years ago in China. Left to serve as an object lesson, it was hardened by the elements in time. The fossil was recently unearthed by humans.


Unless parents are so shiftless that they continue to hump right where the female lays the eggs, the children are almost certain to be spared the scene. We built in another measure: no one knows who his parents are. Together these two improvements have meant that the insect world has gone for 165 million years without one trip to a psychiatrist.


(Courtesy of Numbers the roach.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *