Hen or Egg: Which came first?

Hen or Egg: Which came first?

One of the most head-spinning questions raised by Roman philosophers like Plutarch and Aristotle, that kept haunting people over the years was, ‘which came first, the hen or the egg?’   Humankind continually tries to seek answers to how life originated on Earth. One such question has remained unanswered over all this time and the dispute over the answer led to many scientific research studies in order to come to a conclusion.

There are various theories to support both the answers, that suggest either egg or hen came first. The idea of the egg being formed first is supported by the theory of evolution. Scientists such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye suggest that the two different species closely resembling the DNA of a chicken also referred to as proto-chicken, fertilized an egg which led to genetic mutation and produced the DNA of a chicken in the offspring. And as parents of the chicken were proto-chicken with slightly different DNA, it suggests that the chicken egg came first. This theory is also supported by archaeological studies that have fossils to prove the latter. The oldest fossil, namely Archaeopteryx, is accepted largely to be the first or oldest bird in the world, more than 150 million years old, and this creature has certain similarities with a chicken. So that concludes the theory of evolution. There have been various studies on engineering genetically modified eggs to produce desired proteins, which suggests that eggs can be fertilized with external agents and thus that egg came first.

(Image Credits: Forbes)

However, there is another study that suggests that chicken came first, and not an egg. Dr. Collin Freeman, a renowned scientist from Sheffield University says that now there is scientific proof to show that it was chicken that came first. As per their research, they identified the protein that is necessary for the formation of a chicken egg. Apparently, the protein called Ovocledin (OC-17) acts like a catalyst that initiates the crystallization of eggshell inside the reproductive tract of a hen. And this protein, the OC-17, can only be generated by hens possessing the actual DNA sequence of a chicken. So that concludes the theory on the other bank of the river, i.e., the chicken came first. Again, the Bible suggests that it was God who created all the creature as such and that eggs came from these creatures, and so chicken came first, and then came the egg.

Biological arguments along with evidence can be posed for both of the answers. Which answer to stick to depends on the theory one chooses to believe in.

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Shreyasi Dutta
Hard to crack, but soft from within. I am inspired by emotions which lead me to write and also draw.
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