Thursday, May 25, 2006

Philosopher, scientist, farmer crack chicken-egg question

Thu May 25, 2006

LONDON (AFP) - Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

(Does this all really matter. If so, is there a biologist out there who can explain why?)

According to a scientist, a philosopher and a chicken farmer, it was the egg, British newspapers reported.

The key to the age-old question apparently lies in the fact that since genetic material does not change throughout an animal's life, the first bird that evolved into a chicken must have initially existed as an embryo inside an egg.

Professor John Brookfield, from England's University of Nottingham, concluded that because of this, the living organism inside the eggshell would have had the same DNA as the chicken it turned into.

The specialist in evolutionary genetics was quoted in a number of newspapers as saying: "Therefore the first living thing which we could say unequivocally was a member of the species would be this first egg. The egg came first."

Brookfield's conclusion was backed up by Professor David Papineau, of King's College, London, and the chairman of the trade body Great British Chicken, Charles Bourns.

Papineau, an expert in the philosophy of science, argued that the first chicken must have emerged from an egg even though it was laid by a different species of bird, but it was still a chicken egg because it had a chicken in it.

"The conclusion therefore must be that the egg came first and the chicken afterwards," he stated.

Bourns' methodology was not explained in The Times, the Daily Mail and the Independent, who all carried the story.

"Eggs were around long before the first chicken arrived," he affirmed.


MichaelBains said...

Nice. I LOVE seeing people's reactions when blowin' that little "koan" outta the water.

'Tis one of the fundamenatal physical realities of biological life. Adults make babies which aren't quite identical to themselves and so on, and so on, and so on, until what now exists is incrementally different from what gave rise to its existence.

the first bird that evolved into a chicken must have initially existed as an embryo inside an egg.

You simply can't make a chicken without an egg; even if the "egg" is a laboratory. It's one of the empirical observations which prove the "theory" of evolution, and depends, not on faith or belief, but upon simple, inevitable accumulations of teeny, tiny changes in genetic material.

The fact that so many people don't believe this simple, demonstrable fact, is why we still have a "debate" over creationism -vs- evolution.

I'm gonna try and post more on the particulars of this one, cuz I think it's an excellent approach to illuminate the fact that, as much as we are all the same, we really are each unique.

That's Life ...

Stardust said...


Thanks for the explanation...

This makes can't have a flower without a seed. Can't make a baby without the "seeds"...everything starts with some sort of seed or egg.
Therefore, it makes sense that they egg came first.

No one sees a life just "poof" into existence out of thin air and start producing offspring.

Xians would ask..."well, where did the first egg come from" and my answer to that is just because we don't know doesn't mean we make up some fantasy that some sky daddy made first life with some kind of cosmic magic trick.