School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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2001, March-May

March - May 2001 Mystery Image

March - May 2001 Mystery Image
Image by Doug Chandler

OK, you are all to good for this type of an image. We can see that we are going to have to make things a little harder. 

What was the mystery image?

This is none other than an animal egg after fertilization. The outer circle area is called the vitellien layer. Just what animal would be born from this egg? Well that was a bit harder to know. This is the egg from a Strongylocentrotus purpuratus or better known as purple sea urchin.

For those that got the answer either partially correct (an egg) and for those few that correctly thought it was a sea urchin egg, congratulations. Job well done. Now we did have some very creative answers as well as people that submitted the correct answer, so be sure to read on. Remember, we give credit for creativity as much as the correct answer.


If you are curious, here are some numbers from our list of guesses. 

  • 69% guessed this was some type of an egg (most said frog egg and a few got the correct animal, sea urchin egg).
  • 13% guessed that these were white blood cells.
  • 11% guessed that this was a picture of planets or the solar system
  • 7% guessed that is was a cell or an organelle of a cell.

Some of the creative single answers are listed below. It is really interesting how many of people thought this looked like a picture from space. In some ways they are correct. The actual picture is of inner space and not outer space. Dr. Chandler liked this image for just that reason. Here are some of the creative answers. Thank you to all that sent in guesses.

  • It is one of the planets or a micro-chip
  • A plant cell
  • The moon
  • A organelle of a cell
  • A white blood cell
  • The planet Saturn
  • A picture Of the solar system in blue and white.
  • Nucleolus
  • Part of the nucleus a atom (neutron or proton).
  • It is an eyeball.
  • Muffin pan

To download a computer wallpaper of this image, right click on this link or image and save it to your computer.

ant, photo by Alex Wild

It's like having your own microscope! Visit our Zoom Gallery to explore and have fun zooming in and moving around each image.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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ant, photo by Alex Wild

It's like having your own microscope! Visit our Zoom Gallery to explore and have fun zooming in and moving around each image.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.