Which came first - the chicken or the egg?

Question: Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

by Roman on April 14, 2010

I’ve been getting a lot of funny questions from you guys lately and while Financial Jesus is usually a personal finance oriented website I decided to answer a funny but timeless question that was sent using the question box.

Today’s question was sent by Baz from York, England and is the following:

What came first the chicken or the egg?

The many answers

The question what came first – the chicken or the egg is actually a very old one. It goes back more than 2000 years.

According to philosophy

The legendary Greek philosopher Aristotle concluded that both the egg and the chicken had always existed. Here is his logic:

If there has been a first man he must have been born without father or mother – which is repugnant to nature. For there could not have been a first egg to give a beginning to birds, or there should have been a first bird which gave a beginning to eggs; for a bird comes from an egg.

According to the Bible

If you believe in the Bible the correct answer is that the chicken came first. Here is an excerpt from the Genesis:

And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.  And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

So if you are a believer this settles it.

For those atheists like me who need some more proof, keep on reading and you’ll get the correct answer.

The Correct Answer

In 2006, a team made up of a geneticist, a philosopher and a chicken farmer found the correct answer.

The egg came before the chicken.

The reason for this is simple – the genetic material of a living being does not change during an animal’s lifetime. This means that an animal can’t simply mutate into another animal but it has to give birth (or lay an egg) for a genetic mutation to occur.

The egg was probably laid by a bird similar to a hen but not actually a hen.

Professor John Bookfield a evolutionary geneticist from University of Nottingham agreed: “The living organism inside the eggshell would have had the same DNA as the chicken it would develop into, not the DNA of his parents.

The British organization of  chicken farmers – Great British Chicken –  also agrees:

“Eggs were around long before the first chicken arrived. Of course, they may not have been chicken eggs as we see them today, but they were eggs.”

What do you think?

What came first - the chicken or the egg?

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{ 1 comment }

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