Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

This statement represents a causality dilemma. Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a consequence of the first.

Despite millennia of extensive research, evidential debate and philosophical procrastination the answer to this riddle still remains a mystery…or does it?

Dr Colin Freeman et al used a supercomputer in Edinburgh to produce 5 million core hours of metadynamic computer simulations to demonstrate that the eggshell protein ovocleidin-17 (OC-17) induces the formation of calcite crystals from amorphous calcium carbonate nanoparticles…(Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein [Reference]).

…In other words the protein OC-17 found only in the ovaries of the ‘chicken‘ is essential to stimulate the first stages of ‘eggshell‘ formation. Without this particular protein being present, it becomes impossible for the female chicken to form the egg as we know it. With this in mind, the scientists followed their arduous research to the only natural conclusion…that the egg could never exist without first having had a chicken and its protein to create it.

It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows in fact the chicken came first

Dr. Colin Freeman

Alice Shirrell Kaswell (Improbable Research) used a physical approach in her 2003 ‘Chicken-Egg’ experiment. Ms Kaswell used the U.S. Postal Service to separately mail a chicken and an egg to confirm that the chicken did indeed come first.

Method: I mailed the chicken and the egg, each in its own separate packaging, and kept careful track of when each shipment was sent from a post office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and when it subsequently arrived at its intended destination in New York City

Results: The chicken arrived at 10:31 a.m. Wednesday. The staff at the post office told me that this was the first chicken anyone had mailed to the James A. Farley General Post Office in recent memory, and perhaps ever. The egg arrived that same day, at 9:37 p.m., eleven hours after the chicken.

Conclusion: It has now been empirically determined that the chicken came first, the egg second.

Will this put to rest the age-old causality dilema? Will it arrest our urge to post chickens in the mail?

I fear not…

One of the pro-egg counter-arguments is eloquently defined with the ‘non-chicken mating theory‘….

Two non-chickens mated and the DNA in their new zygote contained the mutation(s) that produced the first true chicken.

That one zygote cell divided to produce the first true chicken. Prior to that first true chicken zygote, there were only non-chickens.

The zygote cell is the only place where DNA mutations could produce a new animal, and the zygote cell is housed in the chicken’s egg.

So, the egg came first

The debate will still rage on…as Murray (chicken) and Brett (igg) amply demonstrate


  • Alice Shirrell Kaswell Which Came First — The Chicken Or the Egg? Improbable Research
  • Colin L. Freeman, John H. Harding, David Quigley, P. Mark Rodger. Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein. Angewandte Chemie International Edition  Volume 49 Issue 30, Pages 5135 – 5137 [Reference]
  • Flight of the Conchords [Reference]
  • ‘How Stuff Works’ The highly scientific journal of random thought [Reference]

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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