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Chicken and Egg Problem Solved 449

Posted by Zonk
from the science-wins dept.
Java Pimp writes "It seems scientists and philosophers now agree which came first. The Egg. From the CNN article: 'Put simply, the reason is down to the fact that genetic material does not change during an animal's life. Therefore the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must have first existed as an embryo inside an egg. Professor John Brookfield, a specialist in evolutionary genetics at the University of Nottingham, told the UK Press Association the pecking order was clear.' So, does this mean we can now show P=NP?"
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Chicken and Egg Problem Solved

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  • by paul42w (693767) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:38PM (#15411850)
    Something that was almost a chicken laid an egg that hatched into a chicken. So, the egg had to have been first.
  • Flawed assumption (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr@ h o t mail.com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:39PM (#15411863)
    They are basing their argument on a flawed assumption. They assume that the first chicken would have had to come from an egg because its genetic material says that it grows from an egg. It is entirely possible that the first chicken was born of a non-egg and of course without changing its genetic makeup, laid the first egg. There are examples of animals with multiple reproductive paths to the same result. Think of hydras, jellyfish, yeasts, fungi, aphids, slime molds and sea anemones to name a few.

    I still believe that the first chicken was actually born of the very last chicken egg in existence, transported back in time by his noodly appendage [venganza.org].

    So, what does a mobius chicken taste like?

  • by creimer (824291) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:43PM (#15411899) Homepage
    Neither. It was the twit who said, "Why, God?! Why me?!"
  • by mikeisme77 (938209) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:44PM (#15411916) Homepage Journal
    I always thought this was a question of science vs. religion... If the egg came first, then clearly the chicken came from evolution (an animal like a chicken laid an egg that then became a chicken). However, if the chicken came first (scientifically impossible) then it was because made the chicken suddenly appear on the planet. So just wait for the ID people to refute this claim...
  • Crap came first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SLOGEN (165834) <jensen@slog.dk> on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:47PM (#15411939) Homepage
    Apparently, crap came first, the argument is plain stupid.

    The egg clearly came first since chickens evolved from species already laying eggs.

    If you ask if a specific chicken came before a specific chicken-egg, then probably yes, depending on the time of the laying/conception/[your preferred existance-deciding moment].

    If you ask if a specific chicken came before it's own egg, then obvously, no, which is well-established by the laws of causality.

    But, that those aside, in the more transcendal (and usual) interpretation the question doesn't make sense since development of a species is continuous and the whole concept of species is trying to break that continuous development into discrete steps. That process is bound to have boundary problems and the system of species should not be applied in those conditions.
  • by non0score (890022) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:49PM (#15411954)
    That's where your logic fails. A "chicken egg" doesn't have to be laid by a chicken. Assuming that there is a hard speciation boundary, then the genetic differentiation can only happen between generations. I.e. during the production of genetic materials for the offspring, which in this case is the egg. Your argument is vaguely analogous to "God created human, so God must be human."
  • Re:obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheNumberless (650099) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:56PM (#15412005)
    For this solution to work, you don't need to identify the first individual in the history of bird ancestry that can be rightly called a chicken, you just have to assume that it exists. No matter what reasonable criteria you use to distinguish between "chickens" and "not chickens" (and there's no denying that there's lots of room for argument here), such an individual exists that was the first to meet those criteria. And it hatched from an egg.
  • by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:58PM (#15412025)
    Something that was almost a chicken gave (eggless) birth to the original chicken.

    The rate of evolution being as slow as it is, it's about 0% likely that a mammal (live birth) could give birth to a bird (egg laying) like that.

    Maybe in Spore, though...
  • by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:03PM (#15412060) Journal
    Lying. They are lying in bed together. Unless the chicken is laying the egg, while it is smoking, or they are both laying...something. Dunno what an egg can lay, though...
  • by paul42w (693767) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:04PM (#15412079)
    NOT believing in evolution takes a leap of faith believing in evolution only requires simple observation
  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:06PM (#15412099)
    Assuming that there is a hard speciation boundary
    And that's where things fall apart. In fact, I don't think "species" has any clear-cut definition, nor have I heard one that would be reasonable. It's like trying to group every song written into genres - generally it's useful and easy to do, but it breaks down in boundary cases.
  • f the egg came first, then clearly the chicken came from evolution (an animal like a chicken laid an egg that then became a chicken). However, if the chicken came first (scientifically impossible) then it was because made the chicken suddenly appear on the planet.

    uhm.... no...

    'Put simply, the reason [that the egg must have come first] is down to the fact that genetic material does not change during an animal's life.

    1. God creates chicken.
    2. Chicken lays egg.
    3. The chicken's genetic material does not change.


    Their argument is within the framework of an evolutionary worldview.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:19PM (#15412196)
    Well, there's also the problem that it's very difficult to trace back exactly a point when 1 "not a chicken" gave birth to "chicken" and we have a new species. I doubt there is any case where we would look at parent and offspring and conclude them to be completely different species (baring cross-species breeding). Evolution happens over a long time. Changes in species have to be observed over an equally long time.

    It's kinda like asking when dough becomes bread. There's definately a difference in the starting and ending state, but any two obervations made within a few seconds of each other would lead one to conclude that you're looking at the same thing both times.
  • Hmm, I know your sig is a joke, but wouldn't a PGP signature have to be the product of two primes? Your signature is [3, 5, 823]. '1234' would work, that's [2, 617]. 1234567 also works, that's [127, 9721].
  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:42PM (#15412379)
    That's a philosopher. ;)
  • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:45PM (#15412407)
    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your college paper doesn't pre-date Cecil Adams, who published the same answer in 1984: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


    Cecil Adams' response was only correct for one interpretation of the question. That interpretation is a question of whether eggs of any sort existed before chickens of any sort. His interpretation is only useful if you intend to be a smart-ass by answering the letter of the question rather than the common interpretation. The more common interpretation of this question is whether chicken eggs existed before chickens themselves. That is the question that TFA seeks to answer.

    BTW, I also answered this question years ago (though not before '84). All it got me was dumb stares from the people I told it to. Now that my answer has been "officially confirmed" I expect nothing but head scratching and comments like, "I don't remember you saying anything like that at all."

    The answer is actaully quite obvious from an evolutionary perspective. If evolution happens between generations, then what came before the first chicken egg had to be a non-chicken. Thus the egg came first.

    TW
  • by SheldonYoung (25077) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:45PM (#15412410)
    If their logic is correct then it doesn't matter at what point the label "chicken" could be applied, what was contained the egg still must have been a "chicken".
  • by MadMorf (118601) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:59PM (#15412519) Homepage Journal
    Ultimately I think the answer to this lies in the distinction we make between egg and not egg.

    Nah, you've got it backwards...

    The answer lies in the distinction between "Chicken" and "Not Chicken"
  • Well Duh ! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WKSGene (128730) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:49PM (#15412870)
    Perhaps

    But, if you assume we are talking about chicken eggs and chickens, then strictly speaking the chicken came first, ince the egg that was laid by the pre-chicken was not, in-fact, a chicken egg, but a pre-chicken egg.

    If we allow for any species of egg then we have to allow for any species as well and we are left with the question:

    Which came first the egg laying creatures or the eggs?

    (And that assumes the creatures would have to lay the eggs.)

  • by DjReagan (143826) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:59PM (#15413276)
    So if a chicken lays an unfertilised egg, that just contains yolk and eggwhite and no developing chicken, what sort of egg is it? I'd suggest it is still a chicken egg. Therefore it's not just what's inside the egg that defines what the egg is.

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