According to reports, over in Australia, a gigantic chicken egg – which already surprised the presiding farm's owners for being three times more massive than their regular eggs – was found to have something very odd inside.
Let’s take a moment to console the producer of the hyperegg herself, whom the farmer suggested would be suffering from a “pain in the bum”.
ABC News spoke to an associate professor of veterinary sciences, but they were left without answers. Weirdly, they also refer to the egg as a babushka, which is Russian for "old woman" or "grandmother". We think they mean matryoshka, as in the Russian stacked dolls, but hey.
Eggs with multiple yolks aren’t too rare, but this? What is the sorcery behind this aesthetically troubling incident of egg-ception?
Plot twist: this phenomenon isn’t actually new, and has in fact been documented before, including most recently on another chicken farm in Texas. Part of the process is – as noted by BuzzFeed in 2013 – technically known as counter-peristalsis contraction, and it’s less to do with magic and more to do with a briefly malfunctioning chicken.
“Peristalsis” refers to wave-like muscular contractions; the “counter” just refers to the fact that it’s going the wrong way. This isn’t hen egg specific, mind you, as it describes any such process in which an oviduct or a similar piece of biological architecture works in reverse.
As explained rather neatly by Sploid back in 2017, exactly what you may think happened actually did: an egg, not quite ready to be popped out yet, withdrew back up into the hen, and another egg formed around it during a second ovulation event.
This sounds fairly uncomfortable for the hen: the first egg doesn’t just slip back up behind the uterus, within which the shell takes shape. It’s actually forced way back up through the oviduct. It’s then dragged along as the second egg – which already has its yolk, but is still accumulating its white – makes its journey downwards.
When that one is all shelled up and ready to shoot out, it does, carrying its eggy stowaway with it. It’s not exactly clear why this process takes place, but in all situations, both the inner and outer eggs are almost certainly perfectly edible. The weirdness factor probably puts those that find such things off from digging in, however.