Is it possible to keep the egg of my humanoid character without hatching for centuries, but still able to hatch when proper care and the appropriate environment is provided? My planet is a extremely hot one, and my inhabitants are literally 'fireman'.

Here is some background information:

Without revealing too much, my humanoid race has an egg of another race (A bird-Human race). The thing, which will hatch from the egg will either be their saviour or Satan. So they could not just destroy it or allow it to hatch, instead they keep it in a frozen like state (Or in some state which will neither destroy the life in the egg nor let it develop - a stasis or sleep like stage I guess)

My race is highly developed in technology, so they can go to any extent to achieve the feat. After centuries, the egg is somehow returned to it own race members. So all I need to know is, whether it is possible for them to hatch that egg using their traditional method? It is something like the presence ,heat, care from the mother and some other factors.

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    $\begingroup$ Have you ever heard of the humble tardigrade? Full grown adults have been revived after centuries and their eggs are similarly hard to kill. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Jul 30, 2019 at 9:44
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    $\begingroup$ While you're getting interesting ideas, I think your query might be a little underdone. In order to answer this well, I think we should at least be informed as to the basic mechanics of Firefolks' reproduction. Apart from the fact that "eggs" are somehow involved. I'm going to move that the query be put on hold until sufficient information is provided. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jul 30, 2019 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ Hi Sangeetha, this is a cool question but could use a little more information. If you're asking about real-life reptilian or bird eggs to analogize to your humanoids, the Biology SE might be a more hard-science fit to give you a sense of how long it can possibly be before a real-world egg becomes inviable. As Joe Bloggs points out, other creatures survive much longer in either cyst or spore form. And if you're creating this species from scratch, we'll need to know a lot more about them in order to provide reasonable answers. I've voted to hold your question until you can give us more info $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Jul 30, 2019 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ Since a humanoid egg and its evolutionary history and thus biology is completely hypothetical the answer is whatever you the author want it to be. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 30, 2019 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas Hi, I edited my question and added information as much as I could. Hope it is better now. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – Sangeetha
    Jul 31, 2019 at 5:58

3 Answers 3


To add to other peoples' ideas, it is possible to consider inactive development. Within an egg, the baby organism goes through several changes that allow it to be born in the first place. This link describes what happens in a chicken egg.

The reason I mention this is because as we can see here, development of the chicken itself starts off immediately, and gets done in around 21 days. What if the organism you're trying to hatch doesn't start developing immediately - or develops to a point at which it stays in stasis? We don't really have many species to look at for inspiration there - tardigrades (as a commenter already mentioned) go into hibernation but that's after they're born.

For this I look at inspiration from fantasy. In the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, a dragon egg will only hatch if the dragon within the egg feels the touch of a dragon rider it likes at the right time. This means that even if the perfect rider touches the egg, if circumstances are dire, it will not hatch - at least not immediately.

So, I'd like to answer your question with my own question: upon maturing to a 'stasis point', does your humanoid species have the ability to sense the outside world from within an egg? This could potentially be through linking to the protector of the egg, or you can go full-fantasy and rely on magic to explain things. I hope this helps!

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. I think I can use something like the dragon example. In my case its something different, But can relate to it. Thanks for your help and time. Thanks for everyone who responded.. :) $\endgroup$
    – Sangeetha
    Jul 31, 2019 at 3:09

Some plant seeds have been reported sprouting after centuries in quiescent state in dry environments.

Some bacteria can be dormant as spores for very long times and return vital with the proper conditions.

But plant and bacteria have evolved to survive in seed form over long times, not being able to count on a granted favorable environment. For animals things are different: the egg is laid in a favorable environment by definition (the uterus or the seeded egg), so the capability of staying vital are very limited.

For animal eggs the only way to preserve them is to cryogenically store them, which means freezing them in liquid nitrogen, to enable fast freezing and limit the growth of ice crystals.

However it shall be noted that we are using this technology for some decades, so extrapolating it to centuries is a leap of faith.


Unless the eggs are fertilized all those centuries later, I doubt it. A fertilized egg is going to be developing until the day it's ready to hatch, which consumes the nutrients in the egg. Those nutrients are limited in supply (by the size of the egg, if nothing else), and evolution dictates efficiency: there's going to be enough nutrients to see the embryo develop to hatching, and little or nothing beyond that.

Your problem stems from the fact that the embryo, once fertilized, is going to need to consume something to stay alive: perfect suspended animation is extremely rare in animals, and more or less nonexistent if you discount freezing (which is going to be extremely unhealthy for an egg, I would think), so your embryo is still growing and eventually running out of nutrients.

Your only real solution that I can identify would be to have your creatures somehow lay eggs that have been "fertilized" but where the sperm is somehow kept separate (and alive: sperm tends to a short lifespan) from the embryo until favourable conditions are detected; the actual mechanism for accomplishing this isn't anything that I can see, but it might give you some ideas.


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