Spontaneous abortion explosion

Now that we’re regularly getting small numbers of eggs and embryos every day, we thought we’d test out all the other gear by making an extended timelapse video, letting it run overnight. Unfortunately, in the wee hours of the morning, God apparently struck and slaughtered the little baby fish in its chorion, and embryo went splat. We’ll show it anyway.

This happens spontaneously a few percent of the time, a bit more frequently in embryos we’ve poked and jostled and plopped into a stressful environment, so don’t be alarmed. Nature is not kind to embryos.


  1. scottrobson says

    Its always amazing to see things like this. Everything (interesting) in the universe is in a metastable state, from atoms, to proteins, to whole cells, to planets and to stars. Even societies are metastable. That entropic transition can be hard to predict but when it happens it can be spectacular so long as you are a witness only.

  2. JohnnieCanuck says

    Anyone else seeing that the link behind everyone’s ‘nym points to this page, except the second one, Avicenna’s? I’m using an old version of Safari (5.06).

  3. jstackpo says

    A tad off topic (sort of, anyway): are there any hard data on spontaneous abortions in humans?

    I have poked about on the I’net and everything I have turned up seems to be “estimates” of one sort or another. I realize it is a tough question to get at but I live in hope…


  4. unbound says

    @10 – The stats I’ve found to date indicate that about 1/3 to 1/2 of impregnated embryos are aborted one way or another (usually just not embedding in the uterus). I think the monitoring requirements make this difficult to pin down precisely.

  5. pinkey says

    It’s pretty clear that the embryo was gay. God lovingly did it a favor by preventing it from living a life that was bound to suffer from God’s hate.

  6. says

    Yeah, the conservative estimate is one third; the estimate from the known distribution of chromosomal abnormalities (that is, if you find a certain percentage of aborted fetuses with trisomy 11, you can infer that there were an equal number of monosomy 11 cases that were aborted so early that they weren’t reported), you get up close to 50%. Even that is a little on the conservative side.

  7. says

    Anyone else seeing that the link behind everyone’s ‘nym points to this page, except the second one

    That appears to be the default now if you don’t provide your own URL, instead of not having a link at all.

  8. Rich Woods says

    I’m not normally given to sentiment when watching videos of animals, but when this fish went ‘Splat!’ I was saddened.

    I think I’d started to bond with it.

  9. doubter says

    This is doubtless God’s response to legalized gay marriage in the UK.

    What? Never! God just needed another adorable little angelfish in Heaven…

  10. Rip Steakface says

    “Spontaneous Abortion Explosion” would be a good name for a metal band or at least a song.

  11. SteveV says

    Is there any correlation with cosmic ray flux?
    (I worked on the development of a magnetron sputtering system that had an irritating and apparently random habit of striking a parasitic plasma in glass envelope ionisation gauge. The speculation was that the plasma was initiated by the (random) arrival of a cosmic ray)
    This could be tested by repeating the experiment here

  12. marko says

    Can we get some technical details for perspective?

    How long does this whole process take, what is the time between exposures?

  13. David Marjanović says

    Anyone else seeing that the link behind everyone’s ‘nym points to this page, except the second one, Avicenna’s?

    See comment 16 – it’s a new quirk of FtB.

    Freshwater fish go to Limnbo.

    Full of win.