The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: What came first, the chicken or the egg?  (Read 7782 times)

Connor Westover

  • Guest
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« on: 05/11/2010 22:30:02 »
Connor Westover  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hello Chris!  This is Connor Westover!  I am doing this for extra credit at my high school.

My question is what comes first, the chicken or the egg?  This question keeps coming up year after year, and I would really like if I can finally get an answer for it!

Thank you,

Connor Westover

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 05/11/2010 22:30:02 by _system »


 

SteveFish

  • Guest
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #1 on: 05/11/2010 23:55:16 »
There once was a bird that had the last mutation that created the first chicken. It might be very difficult to tell this species of pre-chicken from an actual chicken, but theoretically this bird existed because there was certainly a non chicken species that evolved into chickens. Because the actual genetic change would have occurred in the process of creating an egg, the altered egg would contain the first complete chicken genome. In other words, a pre-chicken laid the first chicken egg.

EDIT-- I am adding a bit more to be sure you understand. If a cosmic ray, or a mutagenic chemical, or whatever causes a change in a gene in a cell in an animal it will not change the animal into a new species. This happens all the time. The change has to be in a cell that is a precursor to a sperm or egg cell, in the sperm or egg cells themselves, or in a fertilized egg for the mutation to be transmitted into every cell of the new animal that they create and to be present during the development of the new animal so that it will be changed.   
« Last Edit: 06/11/2010 00:16:04 by SteveFish »
 

Offline James Carl

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #2 on: 23/11/2010 07:44:04 »
I think egg.
To be honest I saw once duck and hen matting. Wonder what would be the result!!!
Same as egg will be the result of matting 2 different species
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #3 on: 06/12/2010 13:25:34 »
A slightly different question...  But, you might ask who came first, Adam or Eve.

In humans, "Mitochondrial Eve" is believed to be about 200,000 years old, but "Y Chromosome Adam" is only believed to be about 60,000 years old.

I presume that this is that in any polygamous species, a higher percentage of the females breed than the males.  And, this increases the likelihood that the male line would have a single ancestor that would have developed later than the female line.

I wouldn't be surprised if you would find the same thing in Chickens, that the Hen's genome is older than the Rooster's Genome.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #4 on: 06/12/2010 19:40:38 »
If we assume that it's some genetic factor(s) that define a chicken then there was an embryo with those factors (and which was, therefore a chicken embryo) before the embryo's mother produced the yolk and shell that made an egg round this "first chicken".

The chicken existed first.
The egg was formed round it.

"To be honest I saw once duck and hen matting. Wonder what would be the result!!!"
Nothing.They are very different species so they are not genetically compatible.
 

Offline Kerry

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #5 on: 07/12/2010 09:35:32 »
Quote
Scientists have cracked the puzzle of what came first the chicken or the egg. The answer is both after research showed a particular chicken protein acts as a catalyst in egg shell formation.

http://www.labnews.co.uk/laboratory_article.php/5623/2/age-old-puzzle-cracked- [nofollow]
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #6 on: 08/12/2010 06:43:37 »
If we assume that it's some genetic factor(s) that define a chicken then there was an embryo with those factors (and which was, therefore a chicken embryo) before the embryo's mother produced the yolk and shell that made an egg round this "first chicken".
Interesting way of looking at it...

So, the question is whether the chicken egg is that hard white (or green or brown) thing you buy in the store.
Or is it the oocyte which would be largely just the egg yolk.

The oocyte (yolk), of course, exists before fertilization (if it is fertilized).

The chicken apparently was domesticated from a Pheasant relative, the Red Junglefowl.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Junglefowl

Whew, the Junglefowl rooster looks very chicken-like.  Especially like some Aracana roosters.  Perhaps the heredity was the other way around. 

Nonetheless, at some point the Junglefowl or Pheasant was domesticated, and then made a gradual shift towards our modern day chickens.  I would assume that the eggs were naturally incubated, and the first pair of Junglefowl were captured live in the wild.  It wouldn't have been a 1-day junglefowl, 1-day chicken, but a slow evolution.  Perhaps early humans were actually stealing eggs & hunting the birds long before they chose to capture & tend to the birds.

Or, maybe someone chose to tend an injured bird, and discovered it was an efficient means of getting eggs and chicken meat.

 

Offline BuddyLama

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #7 on: 16/03/2011 01:11:32 »
As noted above, a pre-chicken laid the first egg that produced a modern chicken, HOWEVER, since chickens are not asexual animals there had to be two of them.  Since the question posed asks which came first, a singular chicken or singular egg, and since the evolution of chickens was successful and the species still survives today, there had to be two fertile chickens - one male and one female.  Therefore the egg came first, and it was a double yolk of paternal twins.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #8 on: 16/03/2011 07:00:12 »
The chickens we see today could be the result of breeding between the first chicken and the pre-chickens round it, as long as their progeny had some chance of inbreeding.
 

Offline BuddyLama

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #9 on: 16/03/2011 07:37:32 »
I tried to address the specific question and account for the present-day existence of chickens.  A cross-breeding with genetically compatible pre-chickens violates the premise of the question.  My solution works whether the double-yolk egg was the mutant result of a couple of pre-chickens, or if the egg materialized spontaneously in this universe.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #10 on: 16/03/2011 19:04:02 »
" A cross-breeding with genetically compatible pre-chickens violates the premise of the question. "
No it doesn't. Chickens as we know then can, so I understand, still interbreed with junglefowl.

(from WIKI "The range of the true species stretches from northeast India (where the pure species has almost certainly been diluted with cross breeding from domestic breeds)")

Whatever attribute of a chicken you choose to use to differentiate between "chicken" and "not chicken" may well have been present in some, but not all of a group of interrelated birds.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

What came first, the chicken or the egg?
« Reply #10 on: 16/03/2011 19:04:02 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums