Question: The age old question of evolution: Did the chicken come first? Or was it the egg?

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  1. The understanding I had was that the egg came WAY before, but its really only a technicality. Modern chickens are descended from a hybrid of two different types of jungle-fowl, both of which laid eggs. Because the jungle fowl made eggs before chickens existed then you could argue the egg came before the chicken.


  2. hey @caton. I recently heard of a chook in Sri lanka that recently had an egg get “stuck” inside it that incubated and hatched in the chook and it came out like a regular live birth. Makes you think eh? Perhaps not all is as it seems………….


  3. Hi Caton,

    Glad you asked, let me cut and paste a part of something I wrote a little while back.
    This question is often posed in one of two ways, and therefore has two answers.

    Philosophy first
    The question was first posed as a philosophical question about the causality dilemma, like a catch22 situation. This has roots going back thousands of years to Aristotle when species we thought to be unchanging and it was also broadly applied as a metaphor: “what came first when to have A you need B, and to have B you need A”.

    In philosophy and can be an interesting discussion. But when applied to evolution it is redundant.

    So the other way it is asked is with regards to evolution.
    The first thing to realise is that species are not static, they change through time and space. So as the other scientists have suggested, the egg must have come first… why?

    In the chicken or the egg example, we are talking about chickens in their modern sense. So they had to descend from an ancestor. Lets call the ancestor a proto-chicken, so it was like a chicken, but wasn’t really a chicken. New species do not arise in one generation, so if we could line up a modern chicken with one of its parents, and one of its parents and so on back till we got the proto-chicken, then we would see that changes have been slight and slow. But at all stages, the egg is the first stage for a new sort of chicken.



  1. Thank you, all your answers have really helped me out.