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The Chicken May Have Come Before the Egg 341

Muondecay writes "The age old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, has been tentatively answered. The verdict? The chicken, or rather a key protein needed to form the shell of the egg. The protein, called ovocledidin-17, was known to be involved in binding calcite molecules that formed the shells, but the mechanism behind this was unclear until now. The protein acts as a molecular machine, binding to nanoparticles of calcite and guiding them to begin self-assembly of the shell. This gives tremendous insight for developing methods of nano-scale self-assembly based on natural processes, as well as settling heated cocktail party arguments everywhere."
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The Chicken May Have Come Before the Egg

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  • That page is an error page. Can someone find the real link?
  • The abstract link could hardly be worse. Here is one that actually works for the appropriate paper [wiley.com].

    Nice job, slashdot editors.
  • Okay then. (Score:5, Funny)

    by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:12PM (#32908998) Homepage Journal

    Which came first, the egg or the eggshell.

    Thank me when this becomes a major philosophical debating point.

    • by Cow Jones ( 615566 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:22PM (#32909056)

      The whole thing is moot. If we really wanted to know which came first, we'd only have to conduct a relevant experiment [lolsnaps.com]. Although this could be one of those experiments where observation can alter the outcome...


      • Re:Okay then. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:54AM (#32912078) Homepage Journal

        This (TFA, not your comment) is the dumbest thing I've seen all week. Chickens and all other birds were evolved from dinasaurs. Dinasaurs laid eggs; dinasaur eggs have been found. The egg came millions of years before chickens evolved.

        Jesus, are all journalists noncompos? This is a huge failure of simple reasoning abilities.

    • Re:Okay then. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tom17 ( 659054 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:27PM (#32909082) Homepage
      Well it would have been soft eggs first. In some of these soft eggs, there would have been mutations in the DNA resulting in a slightly increased amount of ovocledidin-17. These eggs would then have slightly harder shells and likely a higher survival rate due to more durability. As time goes on, those mutations giving even more ovocledidin-17 and resulting in even harder eggs, become more dominant than those DNA strands without the mutation etc.

      At least, that's my understanding of how it all works...

      So the egg came first, later developing an evolutionary advantageous shell.
      • ...until the eggs become too hard for the chicken to bite its way out, then you have a lower survival rate.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Which is why egg shells seem to stay at the apparent hardness they have now, without getting any harder (or softer) on average. Too hard and the chick can't peck it's way out, too soft and the egg breaks too easily... Also, many birds have a "tooth" on their beaks when they're at the hatching age, evolved to help them hatch from the shell. It's called selection pressure [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "Well it would have been soft eggs"

        Seems to me that there is proof in today's world for that. Fish lay very soft eggs, or at least all of the fish that I'm aware of. Amphibians lay soft eggs. All the snake's eggs I've ever seen have tough, rubbery shells. Lizard eggs are harder than the snake's eggs that I've seen, but still don't have the brittle calcium egg shell that bird's eggs have.

        Oh wait - let me back up a wee bit. I've found a few bird's eggs in the wild that were less hard and brittle than chic

    • Which came first, the egg or the eggshell.

      Bird seed.

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:12AM (#32911388) Homepage

      Dinosaurs laid eggs - we've found lots of them.

      Chickens evolved from dinosaurs, i.e. came after them.

      The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

      • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @09:28AM (#32912434)

        If you're implying that the egg came first, you're wrong, but not for the reason you might suspect. The question is not about evolution of eggs or chickens, and pre-dates evolutionary theory. Originally it was probably a metaphysical question, how do you have a chicken that lays eggs without either a chicken or an egg? It never was about timetables, it was about where do things come from if they don't exist?

        "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."

        Aristotle, (Isis Unveiled I, 428.)
        http://www.blavatsky.net/magazine/theosophy/ww/additional/ancientlandmarks/PlatoAndAristotle.html [blavatsky.net]

        With the your understanding, we can declare eggs the winner. But it still does not quell the anti-evolutionary forces which ask ok fine, which came first the dinosaur or the egg? The question can be rephrased for today's audience as: how do codependent traits arise? How can something irreducibly complex as the human visual system come from nothing?

        We know the answers to those questions, roughly speaking, just as we knew the answer to this one. But we didn't have a concrete explanation of just how that happened.

        In addition, the questino of chicken-egg primacy has always implied hard-shelled eggs, at least to my understanding. So reptiles and extinct species would not count. Hard shells came from the same place chickens did, at the same time, is the implication. Finding the protein means we have an explanation that hard shells are independent of an actual chicken. Many reptile species probably contain the ability to create this protein, but it is supressed or under-developed. Finding that would be the best way to put to rest anti-scientific rhetoric. The hard-shell egg probably came both before and after chickens, and we have just the one species left that has both chickenness and hard eggs.

        An updated version of the question is asked and addressed here, along the lines of your thought, but this is merely grafting modern terminology onto an ancient question and making it a concrete, rather than abstract question:
        http://radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/content/issue5_2/04_garner.html [icaap.org]

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:13PM (#32909002) Homepage Journal

    I can't help but feel that the reason why the "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" debate has continued to rage, outside Texas and the other retarded US states which deny Darwin, has a lot to do with arguments like this one. Maybe everyone who can tell the difference between a-protein-now-found-in-chickens and a chicken has long ago come to the conclusion that what came first was some animal different enough from a chicken that we wouldn't call it that, which laid an egg that contained an animal similar enough to a chicken that we would call it a chicken. And only the logic deficient and the religious crazies are left arguing the options.

    • by sznupi ( 719324 )

      If that wasn't enough, this case just tries to describe how an eggshell typical of chickens came to be. If one were to accept that the original "big question" is "philosophical" at the least, then it surely isn't just about chickens - what about eggs of fish or amphibians? Leathery shells?

      It doesn't even have much to do with the "big question."

      • What came first? The molecule or the cell? The prion or the virus?

        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:29PM (#32909434) Homepage Journal

          The bit. This is all a simulation.

        • What came first? The molecule or the cell? The prion or the virus?

          Not sure if you want real answers to those or not, but obviously the molecule, and evidence suggests the prion. However, with prions your question doesn't quite make sense because it's not like viruses descended from prions. Prions are simply "rogue" proteins which force proteins that they come in contact with to conform to the same secondary structure (usually beta folded sheets). It is thought that amino acid chains probably formed (perhaps without any necessary "function") early during the origin of life, and were quite possibly prion-like. Here's an interesting paper about it:

          Milner-White, E.J. & Russell, M.J., 2008. Predicting the conformations of peptides and proteins in early evolution. Biology direct, 3, 3. Available at: http://biology-direct.com/content/3/1/3 [biology-direct.com].

          And, obviously, since molecules are required to make cells (as cells are made up of molecules), the molecule would have to come first. There are some hypotheses about the origins of life suggesting that it is possible that most or all of of the biochemistry of early cells were in place before they even became cells. Here's a good starting point read about that:

          Martin, W. & Russell, M.J., 2003. On the origins of cells: a hypothesis for the evolutionary transitions from abiotic geochemistry to chemoautotrophic prokaryotes, and from prokaryotes to nucleated cells. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 358(1429), 59-83; discussion 83-5. Available at: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/358/1429/59.abstract [royalsocie...ishing.org].

          Anyway, like I said, don't know if you were looking for possible answers to those questions, but I'm bored, and these papers are pretty interesting. ;)

    • by cosm ( 1072588 )
      Your statement has serious implications for the stork and his associates, as it discredits their business of bringing innocent babbys in eggs across the hemispheres. Due to your inflammatory and libelous allegations, Storks, LLC, will see you in court.

      Storks Inc, is a family owned limited liability corporations, specializing in brining babbys to homes, and selling the new EggAborter Eggbeater. For $19.95 you can get this fabulous...oh wait, wrong reality.
    • by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:35PM (#32909144)

      Most people are really bad at dealing with ambiguities and shades of gray. To them the problem is a dichotomy Since the problem isn't really a dichotomy, it doesn't have a solution as a dichotomy, hence the endless arguing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by jellomizer ( 103300 )

        I agree, a lot of people see things on the extreams. Sure there are things in the world that are opposites. But most of what goes on usually is in a borderless state. You see it every where, political parties who debate the same crap for generations, both saying the other is wrong and assumes that one is right. While chances are is that they are both wrong.

        It is also why I equally dislike the hard evangelical religions who figure most of the world will go to hell. And the far athiests who see's any one wi

    • It's about a protein that modern chickens have that facilitates the development of the modern egg.

      Therefore, at some time in the past that protein was NOT present in chickens (or proto-chickens).

      Then, a non-protein-carrying proto-chicken laid an egg which hatched a mutant proto-chicken who DID have that protein.

      So the answer, once again, is that the EGG was first.

      • by jd ( 1658 )

        It has to be the egg that was first, since we know chickens evolved from dinosaurs, so the creature with this mutation to form a hard-shell egg came from a soft-shell egg. (The question doesn't require the egg to be of a specific kind, so this is legit.) Since this egg and no other is the egg that matters, we can disregard all other eggs. They are not chicken-related. The mutation did not arise later in birth. (Well, it could have, I suppose - retroviruses CAN cause mutations in living creatures, it just ge

    • I never read anything on it, but I assume it goes something like this: some chicken-like animal ancestor is being killed while they are carrying their offspring. Therefore, the animals that randomly develop methods to allow earlier separation - in the case, hardened eggs - developed harder and harder eggs, that can earlier and earlier be left on their own for longer periods of time.

    • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

      "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

      Well.. all truly educated people know the rooster came first.

      And only the logic deficient and the religious crazies are left arguing the options.

      You should give examples. The finest one is Roy Comfort talking about the banana. Search YouTube for it. Comedy Goldmine, I promise.

      Ohhhhh, and Peanut Butter Is An Atheists Worst Nightmare.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kcitren ( 72383 )
      Unless you believe in Lamarkian evolution, the egg had to come first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      It doesn't help that the question is vague. Dinosaurs were laying eggs long before chickens were around. However if you make the question "which came first, the chicken or the chicken egg," you then need to define if a chicken egg is an egg laid by a chicken or an egg that would hatch a chicken (if it was fertilized.) After the question is properly defined the answer is easy. (Personally i think it makes more sense to define a chicken egg as an egg laid by a chicken, since you can make that determination be
    • Only a chicken could produce a chicken egg. Whatever egg hatched the first chicken was not a chicken egg (which is what the question implies), but a whatever-the-parent-was egg. I wouldn't throw around terms like "logic deficient" so quickly if I were you, because there's a perfectly logical argument against your position.

      Daetrin also raised a valid point, that it depends on how you define the question (and the definition is arbitrary).

      • by iNaya ( 1049686 )
        So basically, the argument can continue forever!!! Yes! More cocktail parties for me!
    • I think it's just a basic philosophy question to help make people think. Something like, "does a tree falling in the forest make sound if no one is around to hear it?" Obviously the same physical actions occur either way, it's just a matter of whether you define sound as needing someone to hear it or not.

      Same thing, it takes some logical thinking to get to the answer, and it's a fun little puzzle along the way.
    • I can't help but feel that the reason why the "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" debate has continued to rage, outside Texas and the other retarded US states which deny Darwin, has a lot to do with arguments like this one.

      And only the logic deficient and the religious crazies are left arguing the options.

      Well, that says more about your bias and your own lack of education than anything else - since question of this form go back to the ancient Greek philosophers. There's much more to it than your si

    • Well, it's a little bit more complicated than that. If you know about evolution, then you know that there is pretty much no difference and no line between the chicken that hatches from the egg, and the animal that made the egg in the first place. The only reason we could even call a chicken a chicken and a red Junglefowl a red Junglefowl (this animal being the known direct ancestor [wikipedia.org] of the modern chicken) is that at some point, a group of red Junglefowl got separated from the species and evolved and bred int

    • the conclusion that what came first was some animal different enough from a chicken that we wouldn't call it that, which laid an egg that contained an animal similar enough to a chicken that we would call it a chicken.

      The riddle asks which came first, the chicken, or the [chicken] egg. If you don't get the implied "chicken egg" part of that, you're simply an idiot, since anything else would be, and always have been, completely pointless.

      Bringing evolution into the mix most certainly DOES NOT INSTANTLY SOLV

    • Eggs existed before chickens, Eggs with shells existed before chickens, the only debate remaining was did a Chicken's Egg exist before a chicken ...

      That's a semantic question

            Is a chicken's egg an egg laid by a chicken - if so then the chicken came first
            Is a chicken's egg an egg that a chicken hatches from - if so then the egg came first

      Case closed ...

  • Fossil Record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bckspc ( 172870 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:15PM (#32909012) Homepage

    I dunno... dinosaurs laid eggs long before chickens roamed the earth.

  • Perhaps I am not up to speed on semantics or molecular biology, but the summary did not convince me in a clear an concise manner, and the abstract, was well, pretty abstract.

    This gives tremendous insight for developing methods of nano-scale self-assembly based on natural processes, as well as settling heated cocktail party arguments everywhere.

    Could somebody of more intellectual firepower exactly how this insight reaches the papers conclusion, based on this statement, or the researches implications, for the rest of us less biologically inclined?

  • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:18PM (#32909032)
    All chickens come from eggs, the first chicken egg would have been laid by the ancestor to the chicken.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      All chickens come from eggs, the first chicken egg would have been laid by the ancestor to the chicken.

      Don't make me go recursive on your ass!

    • by yamfry ( 1533879 )
      I think it's more like: failure of a science writer extrapolates results to make cute headline. I'm pretty sure the scientists who performed this study facepalmed pretty hard when they read that article. I know I did.
    • All chickens come from eggs, the first chicken egg would have been laid by the ancestor to the chicken.

      But is it a chicken egg if it is not laid by a chicken? There were plenty of eggs (dinosaur etc) that came before chicken but in this debate we are limiting ourselves to chickens and chicken eggs. So the entire debate hinges on whether or not to count an egg which was not laid by a chicken but which contained a chicken.
      • by ashridah ( 72567 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:58PM (#32909600)

        This is mostly irrelevant. A "Chicken" is just a point in time of a particular leaf point in the tree of life. Whatever creatures that were part of that tree that laid the first "chicken" egg was still able to mate with the first "chicken". The point at which you call them "Chickens" is when they're no longer able to successfully mate (as a population) with other offshoots from the tree, or the original, larger, body.

        There's no hard point at which one species changes into another (which will confound your average creationist, who are constantly asking for there to be a sharp division between ancestors and child species), it's a gradual process involving thousands of mutations over many generations. Whatever laid the first Chicken egg was still a chicken, and if you go back far enough, it wasn't a chicken, so much as it was the ancestral node in the tree of life's species.
        See http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/07/chickens_eggs_this_is_no_way_t.php [scienceblogs.com]

        • by NevDull ( 170554 )

          But since speciation requires a population and not an individual, chickens had to exist before the first egg declared to be of the chicken species could have been laid, had there been a contemporary observer.

          • by ashridah ( 72567 )

            Well, sure, but it's not a hard line. Over time, the offshoot that became chickens (gallus gallus) would have been less and less capable of breeding successfully with other members of the parent population (gallus) due to random combinations of genes, and some combinations being less viable.

            Then you reach the point for things like horse+donkey, where a mule winds up being sterile. This is where you start to declare separate 'species', but this may still not apply to the whole population on either side just

    • The study wasn't about chicken-or-egg, it was about a protein involved in egg formation. The journalists threw in the rubbish about chicken-or-egg.
  • Dinosaurs laid eggs long before chickens existed. Done.

    • by Radres ( 776901 )

      Which came first: the dinosaur or the egg? Saying that a different creature from the chicken laid the egg from which the chicken hatched just pushes the problem back one more level.

  • I always thought this one was pretty simple. Dinosaurs laid eggs. Birds are directly descended from dinosaurs. The chicken is a bird. The egg came before the chicken.
  • Not all eggs have a hard shell In fact, most don't - so this is a stupid question.

    Additionally, other animals laid eggs well before chickens ever appeared. Dinosaurs, for example.

    And there were certainly dinosaur eggs before there were ever chickens.

    And fish eggs. And insect eggs. So unless the chickens crossed the time barrier to get away from Colonel Sanders, eggs came before chickens.

    • chickens crossed the time barrier to get away from Colonel Sanders, eggs came before chickens.

      Now there's a story to be investigating...

      Gives a whole new spin to "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

  • The egg came first.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by yossie ( 93792 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:41PM (#32909188)

    Chickens are by definition born of an egg. EVERY chicken ever lived did. So, the egg came first. What gave birth to that egg was not 100% chicken.. So Say I.

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirstead. o r g> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:51PM (#32909236) Homepage

    Putting aside extremely rare mutations in DNA (usually only caused by nuclear anonmoly), whatever DNA you have when you are born, you have when you die.

    Life forms do not mutate/evolve/ during their lifespan; the mutations occur at the DNA copying phase when they are creating the next generation.

    As such - the egg (IE embryo) came first. It is totally fundamentally impossible for the chicken to come first, because the chicken came from an embryo.

    • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark@a@craig.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:23PM (#32909406)

      You haven't got the memo about epigenetics and RNA yet, huh? Sorry, you're actually incorrect. Some of how you experience life does in fact get passed along to your offspring... well, it does if you're one of those few lucky Slashdotters to wean yourself off of here and WoW and escape Mom's basement and find a woman with low standards and all that.

    • by gringer ( 252588 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:41PM (#32909504)

      Life forms do not mutate/evolve/ during their lifespan; the mutations occur at the DNA copying phase when they are creating the next generation.


      • Cancer is an obvious mutation of DNA during the course of a person's lifetime.
      • Viral infection mutates DNA in order to replicate (e.g. warts, influenza).
      • Our immune system mutates DNA in order to generate antigens for foreign bodies.

      Additionally, your body is fixing DNA problems (not always correctly) all the time due to sun damage, free radicals, heavy metals, oxygen, and other nasty everyday stuff. I would actually say that even at birth, it's unlikely that any two cells in your body are alike in terms of the DNA they contain (except red blood cells...). They differ by a [usually] small, insignificant amount, but they'll still be different.

    • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

      As I understand the argument, what you're saying is completely irrelevant. Here's how it works (I think):

      1. A proto-chicken lays a proto-egg which contains a chicken. Because the proto-chicken lacks the protein required for the proto-egg to become a chicken egg, it isn't a chicken egg.
      2. Said chicken eventually lays a proto-egg which also contains a chicken.
      3. Because the chicken has the protein required to turn a proto-egg into a chicken egg, our first chicken has laid the first chicken egg.

      Of course, th

    • The researcher who did the research himself admits in the article that he was not addressing the question of which came first.

      The reporter imposed his own point of view on the research, and figured linking it into the whole "chicken egg question" would get him more attention.

  • Actually, if this theory is indeed true, science and the Bible agree on this one. Genesis says that God created the birds of the air, not eggs that later hatched into birds.

    Specifically, the Bible states fish were created first, birds of the air second, and mammals third, which may roughly line up with evolution, if you're supposing birds evolved from dinosaurs, and dinosaurs came out of the seas, and mammals came along after the dinosaurs left the scene...

    Kinda lines up; weird, huh?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kainosnous ( 1753770 )

      Once again, the Bible was right. Sadly, science doesn't even agree with itself, so there are many who are going to disagree. Personally, I don't find this "evidence" to be particularly compeling, but then I'm no longer the blind faith in science type. Science will never prove anything conclusively because it's a game where they continually move the goal posts.

      It boils down to this: God made chickens and those chickens laid eggs. If you believe in macro evolution (I do not), then it's just a type of heap par

  • by poor_boi ( 548340 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:09PM (#32909314)
    Oh god, I can't believe this drivel reached Slashdot. Let me explain what's happened here:

    <Reporter> Hi, Scientist, thanks for meeting with me today. I'd like to write a story about your work. Could you please explain a little?
    <Scientist> We've definitively proven and carefully described the role that protein ovocledidin-17 plays in eggshell formation
    <Reporter> Wait, so let me get this straight, you found ... stuff ... inside the chicken that's ... necessary for producing eggs?
    <Scientist> Er... yes.
    <Reporter> So... that means the chicken came before the egg, right...?
    [Scientist to self: Oh god, why couldn't Bob handled this damned interview]
    <Scientist> Obviously, it's not really what we were trying to get out of our simulations, but it's an interesting question isn't it?
    [The above is a direct quote from researcher Colin Freeman. You can see he is declining to answer by way of polite deflection.]
    <Reporter> Excellent! Well, that's about all we need, it was great to meet you and we'll be in touch.
    <Scientist> Er... nice... you too...
    [Reporter goes back to HQ to write the article]
    <Reporter> Okay, I've got this material about a chicken protein... um... ovocledidin-17... it's in chickens and it helps makes eggs and MAN is this stuff boring. Hey I know! What was it he said about the chicken and egg thing I asked him? [Looks at notes.] Well, alright! He didn't deny my proposition that the chicken came first! He must be agreeing with me! Alright! I'll just title my story "Scientists answer ages-old Chicken or Egg question." That oughta grab some eyes.

    [Every news outlet in America proceeds to run story]

    [Smart people everywhere cringe and sigh]
  • The Chicken is the Egg, YOU FUCKING MORONS.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Why did the egg cross the road?

      Nope. It just doesn't work.

    • Accurately speaking, the chicken embryo is IN the egg. Parts of the egg become parts of the embryo, but the shell especially is a separate entity with regard to the chicken life cycle.
  • If one accepts the premise of natural selection based evolution, then the only possibility is that the egg came first.

    The first chicken would have been laid in an egg, whose parent was something other than a chicken (perhaps a bit more dinosaur like, reflecting its earlier origins).

    The paper as I understand it isn't showing whether the "chicken" or the egg came first, but rather, the original chicken-like organism (either a dinosaur or something earlier) or the egg it came in. These are actually two very di

  • I'm curious, other than "tentatively" satisfying this rather pointless question/joke, was there any other point in wasting time and money on this? Perhaps they were actually looking for a cure for cancer and just stumbled on this? Oh, wait! I see that now we've figured out a way to create our own eggshells overnight. Phew, that's certainly a relief, I was worried about mankind not having that to put in our time capsule for future generations to gawk at...

    Perhaps British scientists could now get back to

  • Bizzz.... WRONG! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by transami ( 202700 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:10AM (#32909650) Homepage

    On a genetic scale the egg formed long before the chicken -- like dinosaur egg long ago.

    But even on a more "recent" time scale the egg came first. For clearly a not-chicken laid an egg and from it was hatched a chicken. Of course this was unbeknown to the not-chicken, which simply thought, "you are one ugly not-chicken".

    To think otherwise would argue the the not-chicken did not lay eggs but rather gave live birth --which would not even be a bird. I'm pretty sure the Chicken isn't the missing link between Viviparous and Oviporous.

    • Actually, the proto-chicken laid an egg which was also a proto-chicken. Eventually the proto-chickens crossed the threshold for which we would consider a chicken, but it's difficult to draw an exact line in the sand, because the entire chicken population evolved so slowly.

      It most certainly was not a spontaneous one generation change.

    • by migla ( 1099771 )

      In order for there being a conundrum, by egg must implicitly be meant a chicken egg. Now the question becomes one of defining that. Is a chicken egg an egg laid by a chicken (chicken first) or one from which a chicken will hatch (egg first)?

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      The problem with this is that the chicken is a cross between a Red Junglefowl and a Grey Junglefowl. As both these birds lay eggs, it is quite clear that the egg came *before* the chicken. Clearly while this is the technically correct answer that is beyond doubt to the possed question, it does not answer the wider question that was being posed.

      However even if you where to widen the question to which came first the bird or the egg, you would still get the same answer as eggs predate birds by some considerabl

  • Aristotle: The chicken came first. The chicken is an actual chicken, but an egg is only a potential chicken. http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/aristotle/section7.rhtml [sparknotes.com]
  • by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:21AM (#32909700)

    We're missing the bit about Evolution. Chickens and Eggs didn't appear, they evolved. What eventually became a chicken, was laying eggs long before a chicken walked the earth. In describing what defines a chicken, one attribute we can mention is that it "lays eggs". When doing the same with an egg, we cannot argue that a requirement is that it contains or came from a chicken. So, an egg is necessary for a chicken.

  • could you please explain the riddle of schrodinger's chicken?

    it laid an egg, and yet it did not lay an egg, and the egg, that may or may not exist, possibly hatched a chicken, which may or may not be the same chicken that laid the egg, because we don't know which came first, if either came at all. and then schrodinger killed the chicken, or maybe he didn't, and nobody knows what the hell he might have or might not have done to the egg, whether or not he killed the chicken, that may or may not have come firs

  • The headline is far more interesting than the story...
    This is exactly why people stop buying papers.
    (or reading slashdot?)

  • I made a poll about this a while ago. It can be found here: http://www.aqfl.net/?q=node/6021 [aqfl.net] ... ;)

  • by Teun ( 17872 )
    Every kid knows the first eggs were put out by the Easter Bunny.
  • ... is the most absurd debate I have ever heard, it is analogous to asking, "which came first, the mother or the child?". Of course the chicken, which developed from another creature, came first in order to lay the egg.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus