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The chicken or the egg

The question What came first? - The chicken or the egg? is one of the most debated arguments of all time.

As with most problems it is important to try to understand the question and a good place to start is by asking what is meant by 'the egg' :

Common View Point Less-Common View Point
The egg is thought to be a chicken egg. This is a very obvious assumption given that the question implies that there is a link between the two. The egg is not thought to be a chicken egg and in effect changing the question to: "What came first a chicken or an egg".
If we assume that the egg is a chicken-egg then we have to define what is meant by a chicken-egg:

  • A chicken will hatch from a chicken egg
i.e. An animal that was not a chicken laid the chicken-egg which contained the first ever chicken. In this case the egg came first.

  • A chicken egg is the egg that a chicken lays
i.e. A chicken (that already exists) laid an egg (a chicken-egg). In this case the chicken came first.

From a purely scientific point this question can be answered quite easily. It is obvious that there were eggs before there were chickens, since some of the first animals to have ever existed laid eggs. From an evolutionist view, as well, chicken eggs preceded chickens insofar as the first chicken must have been the mutant offspring of a proto-chicken that laid the first chicken's surrounding egg.

A chicken and egg problem is a dilemma or a deadlock situation where one cannot proceed because the lack of the other condition. For example, you cannot find a job without work experience, but you cannot get work experience without first having a job.

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