This is an age old question that has vexed philosophers and scientists alike. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Well, according to researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick they believe that they have come up with the answer.

The whole problem hinges on the biological and chemical composition of both chicken and the egg. For example, if a cow laid the first chicken’s egg then the egg came first. But how can a non-chicken lay an egg that then hatches a chicken? And where did any chicken come from that laid the first egg?

The only non-biblical answer it seems relies on evolution. What we need to do first is define both what a ‘chicken’ is and what a ‘chicken’s egg’ is. Then decide at what point in time the first chicken was ‘made’ then see if the egg that it was hatched from fits the definition of a chicken’s egg. A pretty tall order I think you would agree.

According to the researchers and reported in the Express, the answer lies in the protein ovocleidin (OC-17), on which the formation of eggshell relies. OC-17 is the catalyst that starts the formation of calcite crystals, which form the shell. It is produced in a pregnant hen’s ovaries so surely the chicken came first. But we’re back to square one, where did the chicken with the OC-17 producing ovaries come from?

It could have evolved to that state then laid an egg, but surely those first layers would also have had another procreation device such as a womb?

Unless God just plonked the chicken and egg on earth because he liked the concept then evolution must have been the driving force. Something else morphed into the chicken and egg over millennia and more, so the definition of the point at which they were both formed will always be arguable one way or the other.

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