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The Chicken and the Egg Problem: In the beginning there was neither chicken nor egg—knowledge

The Chicken and the Egg Problem: In the beginning there was neither chicken nor egg—knowledge

What came first chicken or egg? This is a question that science faces in surprisingly difficult times, when there is a dead end. Chicken and eggs are interdependent, one cannot exist without the other. What should a chicken hatch from if not an egg? Conversely, who lays an egg if not a chicken?

Chicken or eggs, this is an emotional argument. Still some people make it easier for themselves by answering. Eggs are evolutionarily older than today’s chicken, and even dinosaurs laid eggs, so of course the egg was there first. But this is not a solution, because the problem is only postponed, and the new question is as difficult as the old one: which came first, the dinosaur or the egg?

Others stay with the chicken egg, but get carried away with the philosophical. Therefore, the first chicken in the world must have hatched from an egg laid by an animal that, by definition, cannot be a chicken. But that doesn’t get us anywhere either. Because this egg was there first, but it was not laid by a chicken, so strictly speaking, it was not a real chicken egg. Does the egg belong more to the chick or more to the mother? And here is the dilemma again.

“The first reptiles gave birth to their young”

Geologists from Nanjing in China and Bristol in England now started earlier. Because until now, one thing has always been assumed: that the organisms that lay eggs hatch from the eggs themselves. Researchers led by Baoyu Jiang are now wondering about this connection. They surveyed fossils and analyzed the genes of 51 extinct and 29 extant animal species that gave birth or gave birth to their offspring, some in hard-shell eggs, some alive. Like scientists in the journal nature and its evolution to report, cloning is more flexible than expected. In many species of animals, the stages in which they lay eggs alternate with the stages in which they give birth to live offspring. Second, the earliest reptiles, birds, and mammals gave birth to young.

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So the great-grandparents of today’s chickens did not lay eggs. This gives the chicken egg problem another alternative. The researchers broke away from the common assumption about evolution. Until now, eggs are considered the key to the success of reptiles, birds and mammals. They all go back evolutionarily to a common ancestral species that once found a way, unlike fish and amphibians, to reproduce without water. Until now, the assumption was that they succeeded in taking this step thanks to the hatched eggs that replaced the spawning vats. Only later did some of them switch to live births. But according to the new study, that’s not true. Another achievement was crucial to the beach vacation: the ability to delay parturition until environmental conditions favorable to the offspring prevail. not the egg.

This may not convince chicken-and-egg purists, but it certainly wasn’t an egg to begin with. However, strictly speaking, there was no chicken in the beginning. So the answer to the chicken and the egg problem is probably no, no, and no.