Briefly revised February 5, 2016
What a fascinating question. Surprisingly it has an answer though I’m certain it will be different from what you suspect. How can you have a chicken that was not formed within an egg? But how can you have an egg that didn’t come out of a chicken?
Before the chicken was the Red Jungle Fowl, the Grey Jungle Fowl and a few other species thought to be the ancestors of all chickens alive today. So the first chicken came from an egg but not a chicken egg, a transition egg. That transition took many years but not hundreds of millennium as it might have with nature.
Man was involved in the process.- about 4 thousand years ago- likely in Asia- possibly for cock fighting. Just as dogs became domesticated from wolves, so too did our domestic chicken originate from a primogeniture.
So our next question should be which came first the Red Jungle Fowl (or others) or the egg? And- how far can we go through this exercise and where will we end up? Let’s skip back a bit.
We believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Several years ago a bit of collagen was discovered in a dinosaur mummy and reported in National Geographic magazine. Believe it or not there are remnants of dinosaurs that are not just bones. Some of their tissue still exists.
Collagen taken from them indicates that the T-Rex is a distant ancestor of the chicken. Check out the feet. But even before T-Rex there were ancestors all the way back to amphibians and before them, the fish from which they evolved. Those would be the lung fish and the coelacanth that still survive even today. To answer this question we need to go all the way back to bubbles.
The bubbles were made of something called phospholipids and are thought to be the first cell walls perhaps 3.8 billion years ago.
Eukaryotes contain a nucleus and developed about 1.6 to 2 billion years ago.
These early cells split and divide much as an egg splits and divides. So my answer to you is that if you go back far enough, indeed “the egg” wins the controversy.
Upon revisiting this article, I have added some additional suggested detailed hypotheses for those that are interested:
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Originally posted 2015-10-26 07:34:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter