Cott: Go Suck (Tasty) Eggs

“Go and suck eggs” is the basic experimental method in a series of studies done by Hugh B Cott, of Cambridge University, in the early 1950s.

The titles are pretty self-explanatory:

The Palatability of the Eggs of Birds – Illustrated By Experiments on the Food Preferences of the Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus).

The Palatability of the Eggs of Birds: Illustrated by Three Seasons’ Experiments (1947, 1948 and 1950) on the Food Preferences of the Rat (Rattus norvegicus).

The Palatability of the Eggs of Birds – Illustrated by Experiments on the Food Preferences of the Ferret (Putorius furo) and Cat (Felis catus) – With Notes on Other Egg-Eating Carnivora. Those other carnivora are numerous, and include civets, mongooses and meerkats, hyenas, dogs and dingoes, otters, aardwolves and foxes.

Egg palatability experiments are potentially of great practical value. Britain, like all island nations, was and is vulnerable to enemies who would block food shipments from overseas. One could counter that danger by discovering unknown or unappreciated edible native foodstuffs. A simple way to begin: collect bird eggs and test their palatability.

Egg collecting, like other research activities, is not without hazards…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

NOTE: The British people put eggs to many uses. The Times reports on June 9, 2009:

Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader who was elected to the European parliament on Sunday, was ambushed by protesters today and forced to abandon a victory press conference outside the Houses of Parliament…. The group was chased around the corner from College Green towards Westminster Abbey as protestors threw eggs and hit them with placards.

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