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Burke Bowers

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What came first: the chicken or the egg?

I'm not being facetious with this post.

When asked this question, most people shrug and say "I don't know." But now I'm posing this question to the enlightened minds of TED.com.

So what came first? The chicken that laid the egg or the egg that hatched the chicken?

To me, the issue is philosphical and scientific at the same time. There has to be an answer, but couldn't one argue either position?

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    Apr 17 2012: The tree of life is not as old as time itself, but time before life is unimportant. That time stretches back more than10 billion years. Those years were only important because it was during those years that the Universe created the necessary environment into which life could appear.

    The tree of life has many branches. A branch is a division within any organism that separates the organism into identifiable genetic lines. The particles into which life's energy is projected are called genes. Genes might be changed is several ways. Non sexual ways depend on the accidental viable changes produced within a gene which is destined to become a spore. If that spore survives, then there will be a new organism, a new mushroom for example, or a new kind of fern. This process can also change a gene within a cell destined to become an egg or sperm cell. If it is a viable change, and that cell becomes fertile and lives, and the change is a dominant one, it will be a new organism. If that organism survives to produce enough offspring, then the organism will continue to be present as part of the tree of life. Doubtful.

    The chicken and egg puzzle is a simplification. Whether the genetic change occurred within an egg or through the sexual process via breeding is not important. The animal that laid the egg had to be 99% chicken. It mated with an animal that was also 99% chicken.
    In all probability, "two almost chickens" produced chicken eggs.
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      Apr 17 2012: Well put.

      It is simplistic to think there was something completely non chicken and it suddenly had a baby chicken.

      If you went back in time with a modern chicken, it may be able to mate with more recent ancestors but at some point further back it could not, but the slightly earlier ones still could until you go back even further.

      I agree if we are talking about chicken eggs the first individual that could reproduce with a contemporary chicken started as a egg from 2 parents that could not mate with the modern chicken - so the chicken egg came first.

      Another perspective - reproduction via eggs came millions of years before chickens evolved. So again non chicken eggs came before chickens.

      The interesting questions may be how did self replicating molecules start etc. We may never know for sure.
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    Apr 16 2012: The answer depends on your chosen perspective. However both are good to eat.
  • Apr 17 2012: 40 minutes left

    .... egg ... egg... egg ...egg ..egg...egg ...egg...egg...egg .... I vote for egg,
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    Apr 17 2012: I would say the egg that hatched the chicken came first. I mean we all know eggs have existed before chickens had come into existence. Think of the Chicken as being a genetic mutation of another animals strain. It all goes back to Evolution. thats my take...
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    Apr 17 2012: I guess you could also ask whether the cock came before the hen or vice versa. Also of relevance is whether the hen crossed the road to lay the egg. Well it's just as relevant as some of the comments.

    God created the cock & the hen, & the hen laid the egg, & they've been doing it ever since. Simple !

    :-)
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    Apr 17 2012: God is not great enough to construct the adult chicken, with its awesome complexity and machinery, muscles, eyes, brains, feathers... And why bother with miracles?
    Nothingness evolves into chicken anyway, if you give it some time.
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    Apr 17 2012: It is a long story.

    but from a believer's thought it is chicken which was created in pair.
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    Apr 17 2012: The self replicating molecule came before the chicken and the egg.

    This gradually evolved into something with sexual selection

    This gradually into something that replicated via eggs.

    Later something very similar to chickens had a baby that can mate with modern chickens.
  • W T 100+

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    Apr 17 2012: In the english dictionary chicken first, then egg.

    Those of us who believe in creation.....chicken first.

    "Each winged creature according to it's kind"......that is what the inspired word says.
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      Apr 17 2012: Interesting from an evolutionary perspective the chicken egg came first from nearly chicken parents.

      Who would have thought from such a cliche question would highlight the gulf between creationists and evolution.
      • W T 100+

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        Apr 17 2012: I am not a creationist Obey.

        I should have said: "those of us who believe the inspired word of God".

        You know, I can see the various winged creatures evolving, adapting, changing it's feeding patterns and the like due to change in earthly conditions, I am not totally a closed minded individual.

        The earth has been around over 400 million years, anything is possible..........I wasn't there, when it all got started, our limited mind would not actually understand it all anyways..........that is why I appreciate scientists delving into nature and attempting to explain our beautiful earth to us, along with all the magnificent things on it.

        I make a concerted effort to be balanced, the bible is not a science book, but when it deals with scientific issues, I have found it to be correct.
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    Apr 16 2012: I reckon the question came first wooooooooo oooo
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    Apr 16 2012: how would you define "the first chicken"? because we need that in order to decide.

    (this, if you mean chicken-egg by egg. if you mean a general egg, surely it came first.)
    • Apr 16 2012: I would say "the first chicken", or any egg laying species, would be the first of its species to exist in the world. Does that help?
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    Apr 16 2012: The egg came first, and it's really not much of a debate.
    • Apr 16 2012: I don't understand how you can say that with such certainty. Surely something had to lay the egg, did it not?
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        Apr 16 2012: I agree entirely that something had to lay the egg. This 'something' was an egg-laying species distinct from chickens.
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      Apr 17 2012: Truth is : sometimes the egg came first, sometimes the chicken did.
      Sometimes it's genetic variation causing non-chickens to lay chicken eggs.
      But sometimes a non-chicken egg in a specific environment might produce a chicken. There is a lot of interaction going on between the egg and its environment, with certain genes only active under certain conditions and coding for a different animal in the end.

      gene mutation and sexual selection are not enough to explain alone the origin of our biosphere.