What Came First, Chicken or Egg? We Finally Know the Answer

A question that people have been asking for years — what came first, chicken or egg? And while everyone kept asking the question all these years, nobody really had a correct answer to this. Having said that, most of us have asked this question just for fun. But now scientists seem to have found an answer.

Theory no 1 : The question is where did the egg come from? Chicken must have produced it. But then we also say that the chicken must have also been born from an egg. Before we fall in this circle once again, let’s understand why the answer to this question is egg. Before looking at the reason behind the answer, let us tell you that many scientists have claimed that chicken came first. This means that to form an egg this protein must have been required. The question is which kind of chicken are we talking about? The one which has been produced by a chicken or the one which has a chicken in it? For example, hypothetically, if an elephant gives an egg from which a lion is born then whose egg will it be called? When two organisms reproduce, both their DNAs are present in their child but it is not 100 percent the same. This mutation results in the birth of a new species. This mutation takes place in the cell present in the egg. This means that lakhs of years ago, chicken type animals which are called prototype chickens mated with another prototype chicken. Then after genetic mutation, an egg came into existence whose DNA was very different. This was the first chicken of the world that we know today. However, this mutation can not be calculated from a single egg since it is a process that goes on for years which slowly leads to conversion. This mutation must have also taken a lot of time and then a time must have come when the proto chicken egg started giving birth to today’s chicken. Theory no 2 : Eggs come from chickens and chickens come from eggs: that’s the basis of this ancient riddle. But eggs – which are just female sex cells – evolved more than a billion years ago, whereas chickens have been around for just 10,000 years. So the riddle is easily solved…or is it? Taken at face value, there is no doubt that the egg came before the chicken. We tend to think of eggs as the shelled orbs laid by birds from which their chicks hatch – unless we eat them first. But all sexually reproducing species make eggs (the specialised female sex cells). That’s 99.99 per cent of all eukaryotic life – meaning organisms that have cells with a nucleus, so all animals and plants, and everything but the simplest life forms. We don’t know for sure when sex evolved but it could have been as much as 2 billion years ago, and certainly more than 1 billion. Even the specialised sort of eggs laid by birds, with their tough outer membrane, evolved more than 300 million years ago. As for chickens, they came into being much later. They are domesticated animals, so evolved as the result of humans purposefully selecting the least aggressive wild birds and letting them breed. This seems to have happened in several places independently, starting around 10,000 years ago. The wild ancestor of chickens is generally agreed to be a tropical bird still living in the forests of Southeast Asia called the red junglefowl – with other junglefowl species possibly adding to the genetic mix. From these origins, humans have carried chickens around the world over the past two millennia or more. So, eggs dramatically predate chickens. But to be fair to the spirit of the riddle, we should also consider whether a chicken’s egg predates a chicken. As humans consistently chose the tamest red junglefowls and bred them together, the genetic makeup of the resulting birds will have shifted. At some stage during this domestication process the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) evolved into a new subspecies, Gallus gallus domesticus, AKA the chicken. In practice, it is impossible to pinpoint the moment when this happened. But in theory, at some point two junglefowl bred and their offspring was genetically different enough from the species of its parents to be classified as a chicken. This chicken would have developed within a junglefowl egg and only produced the very first chicken’s egg on reaching maturity. Looked at this way, the chicken came first.

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