What came first, the chicken or the egg? We’ve got the answer

By Harriet Piercy

Updated Sep 12, 2022 at 05:26 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

It is time to sigh the glorious sigh of relief, because we are going to explain the puzzling question that has haunted the minds of humanity for thousands of years, with rather a simple answer. Which did come first then, the chicken, or the egg?

The question in itself is very valid, even the ancient philosopher Aristotle was perplexed over the thought as his perspective is described in Francois Fenelon’s book on ancient philosophers, “There could not have been a first egg to give a beginning to birds, or there would have been a first bird which gave a beginning to eggs; for a bird comes from an egg.” Another philosopher brought the sincerity of reason to this question by simply stating that the question evokes a question of whether the world had a beginning.

In order to avoid starting this article feeling just as perplexed by professional thinkers, we will give you the answer right away. Scientifically speaking, the egg came first.

Why did the egg come before the chicken?

According to Nature, a group of palaeontologists at the University of Toronto in Canada, discovered the sauropodomorph fossils (an extinct clade of long-necked, herbivorous, saurischian dinosaurs) in a bone bed dating to the early jurassic period, 197 million to 190 million years ago. And in the bone bed, egg shells were found—being the oldest fossil of dinosaur eggs and embryos found to date.

Although sauropodomorphs are not birds, archaeopteryx are on the other hand are the oldest (around 150 million years old) generally accepted bird, which shows where the confusion comes from. This evidence means that birds in general came after eggs.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll soon fully understand why the answer of the egg coming first is true. Merril Fabry, a journalist from Time Magazine stated the argument of evolutionary emergence perfectly by writing that “At some point, some almost-chicken creature produced an egg containing a bird whose genetic makeup, due to some small mutation, was fully chicken. Given the incremental nature of genetic changes, locating that precise dividing line is pretty much impossible, but chickens were domesticated, diverging from their wild counterparts, sometime in the range of 7,000 years ago.”

Even astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson endorsed this idea with a tweet saying “Just to settle it once and for all: Which came first the Chicken or the Egg? The Egg—laid by a bird that was not a Chicken.”

A species is formed by an overlapping of other species, mostly, if not definitely, as we adapt. The farmhouse and free range chicken we know today, most definitely came after the egg, as a general form of egg, that is. But what if we rearranged the question as: did the chicken egg come before the chicken?

Not to scramble the situation even more, the answer is still simple. A chicken would have been needed to lay a chicken egg in the first place, otherwise it would have been just any other egg.

At some point, there would have not been any chickens, like there weren’t any humans, until two fertile egg-laying birds crossed paths, did the deed, and click clack cluck, a chicken hatched from an egg of not quite but nearly chickens. The question itself hatches evidence that we are simply along a spectrum of existence. Good luck staying awake at night thinking about all of this.

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