Posted in Science & Nature

Chicken Or The Egg

One of the most well-known philosophical questions is what came first: the chicken or the egg? A chicken is born from an egg, and an egg is birthed by a chicken. This means that the cause and effect are intertwined in a never-ending cycle. This kind of problem is known as circular cause and consequence or circular reference.

In some ways, this question is extremely easy to answer. In biology, many different creatures lay eggs to give birth to their young, but there are no examples of a chicken being born without an egg being involved. The chicken is most likely a product of a lineage of evolving species that ultimately resulted in the genetic makeup of a chicken. That “proto-chicken” would have laid an egg, which had enough mutations in its genome to be sufficiently different from the proto-chicken to be called a “chicken”. Therefore, the egg must have come before the chicken. Even if we use the strict rule of defining “egg” by as a “chicken egg”, the egg that birthed the first chicken contained the original genetic makeup for chickens; ergo the chicken egg came before the chicken.

Science and philosophy aside, a completely unrelated point about chickens and eggs is that there is a Japanese dish called oyakodon, which is made with chicken and egg over a bowl of rice and vegetables. The name comes from the Japanese for parent (“oya”, 親) and child (“ko”, 子), giving away the cruel nature of the relationship between the main ingredients in the dish.