Which came first the chicken or the egg? Solved!

Chicken or the egg? Chicken! Egg! No wait, chicken!

Do you know the answer? Do you think it’s an intractable question? It still causes confusion and is considered by some people as an intractable mystery of the Universe. It’s not. The logical analysis of the problem is quite simple, and the answer is even simpler.

The insight is thanks to Darwins theory of evolution. Then it’s simply a case of clarifying what we mean by a ‘chicken’.

Simple Answer

Most people (myself included) would say that a ‘chicken’ was laid as an egg, and the chicken is capable of laying eggs (of the same species). By that definition, the egg came first.

Alternatively, you could say that a chicken lays eggs but that the chicken itself didn’t have to come from an egg; by that definition, the chicken came first. My answer equally explains this definition of chicken, but it’s not the one I use in the explanation below.

More Details…

The question is best answered by rephrasing the original question with the new question: ‘Which came first the mutated chicken or the mutated egg?’. That’s because the key to breaking the catch-22 cycle is: evolution, specifically mutation.

There are 3 evolutionary scenarios (I can think of) describing how the egg came first. Recall we’re using the definition of chicken whereby ‘a chicken is laid as an egg and is capable of laying eggs (of the same species)‘.

Scenario 1)

An egg-laying species, species-X, laid mutated eggs. These mutated eggs contained a new species-Y. Species-Y are chickens.  So the first instance of species-Y was in the egg – hence the egg came first. This satisfactorily explains the chicken-egg conundrum for chickens and chicken eggs. But if we go back up the evolutionary chain then at some point we’re still faced with the question: ‘which came first, the species-A or species-A egg?’. For this we go to scenario 2.

Scenario 2)

‘Species-A’ didn’t lay eggs, perhaps the young of species-A were born covered in, or emerged from, an amnion, amniotic sac or whatever. Alas, there was a mutation and one/many of species-A young was ‘born’ in an egg, this egg heralded the arrival of species-B. Species-B are chickens (or a predecessor of chickens depending how far back we’ve gone). In this scenario the egg came first, because it is the first instance of species-B. Where species-B was laid in an egg and is capable of laying eggs (of the same species).

Scenario 3)

It’s possible that an egg mutated (but wasn’t laid) from some other species. It seems improbable that a species would evolve into an egg, and that egg subsequently evolved into an egg-laying chicken. However, it is possible so I mention it for that reason. Even in this scenario the egg came first, because it satisfies our definition.

Scientists have a say:

Read this article: ‘The chicken came first, not the egg‘, scientists prove. It’s an article based on research carried out at Sheffield University and Warwick University in England.

I disagree with the conclusion they’ve drawn from their data, although I’m not disputing the data itself. They’re essentially looking at scenario 2 above, but they’re calling ‘species-A’ a chicken; whereas I call species-B a chicken and species-A a predecessor of chickens.

What do you say? Leave a comment below, all views welcome…

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7 Responses to Which came first the chicken or the egg? Solved!

  1. Dave Browne says:

    The chicken and the egg are sitting up in bed having a post-coital cigarette. The chicken turns to the egg and says, “Well I guess that answers that question”.

  2. Charles Emanuel says:

    What great faith you must have to believe any one of the presented scenarios could answer the question. To believe that evolution answers the question of how life began is truly taking faith beyond its limits.

    Now here is the answer that also takes faith but not nearly as hard to believe.

    The chicken came first because chickens like all living things were created by God.

    • althinking says:

      I applied logic to the available evidence, and it’s as simple as that :)

      On the other hand, your assertion is without explanation and not supported by any evidence.
      Referring to a fictional character from a book is without merit, you could equally credit Harry Potter or Gandalf.
      The words “faith” and “believe” are from your lexicon, not mine.
      Faith is irrational and illogical.

      • R says:

        Oh and evolutionarily, faith is as much an inherent psychological process as logical/ lateral reasoning.

        Yes faith and an empirically proven paradigm are different, but one must have faith in existing paradigms based upon apparent evidence to progress to mathematically more complex proofs.

        That right now there is even a nuance of a possibility that E=mc2 may be inaccurate should dispel any notions of absolute evidence of anything.

        Without an agreed consensus view of reality, the individual human psyche under performs on a survivalistic proforma, and group cohesion is near impossible.

        Faith in the base innate drives within us: overcoming the fear of death to motivate us in life (‘ego’) and mutual survival interests (‘morality’) are blatently articles of faith. One could argue that because we have made it this far, as an individual and a species, that empirical evidence suggests that we are a well adapted life form with good long term chances of survival.

        A quick look at a Homo Sapiens: M.A.D. (Mutually Assurred Destruction); climate change, unsustainable economic systems – suggests otherwise…?

        Religion, God and other such non-logical concepts have their place in the survivalist arsenal of the human psyche.

        Of course, acquiescent Realist ideologies, religious or otherwise, are merely viritic postulations that we will hopefully close the door on for good.

        That a person cannot see the obviousness of the truth that is evolution dispite evidence screaming at them only goes to prove the extent of the capacity of Homo Sapien to act upon the ludicrous. Which is why we are in such a mess as a species.

        Arrogant scientists on one hand arming us with more and more catastrophic technology, religious brainwashees on the other constantly looking to quash the ‘infidels/ pagans/ whomever.’

        He may have gotten e=mc2 wrong (or not), but ‘all arts, sciences and religions are but branches of the same tree’ was surely unarguably correct.

      • atman says:

        “Creation” is one time act. If things that were supposedly created, keep altering and changing according environmental conditions, then what exactly is happening? Who is making the changes?. Is god making the changes? Does that mean he has no control over the environment? If you say we don’t constantly evolve \ change, then you are foolish and blind. Arrogance is not spirituality. You scoffing at logic using sarcasm doesn’t mean you know anything. God exists in our imagination alone. It’s part of being a human being. It gives us a feeling of self importance. The Book also says that earth is the center of the universe… hmmm..

  3. R says:

    Or, succinctly: the egg came first, species X’s reproductary system is responsible for the mutuation that initiated species Y.

    BUT, research on epigenetic coding in DNA looks like dispelling notions of fixed attributes that we used to define a species. The ramifications may be that a species X can epigenetically mutate into X1, etc.

    How we define X, X1 or Y as a distinct species is the onus of the dilemma. One that will probably be resolved by an algerbraic statistical probably categorisation system for epigenetic variants.

  4. kimberly mendaros says:

    i agree ,
    bec. the definition is in logical explanation.
    and have a scenario 1 2 and 3.a clear exp.

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