Extrinsic Microbial Degradation of the Alligator Eggshell

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Science  04 Dec 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4525, pp. 1135-1137
DOI: 10.1126/science.214.4525.1135


The outer, densely calcified layer of the alligator eggshell shows progressive crystal dissolution, with the production of concentrically stepped erosion craters, as incubation progresses. This dissolution is caused by the acidic metabolic by-products of nest bacteria. Extrinsic degradation serves to gradually increase the porosity and decrease the strength of the eggshell.