Saturday, 10 March 2012

[Cracked!] What came first: The chicken or the egg?

This apparent paradox dates back to 384BC, where our old friend Aristotle debating this amongst his mates.

If you're really keen to find out, scroll down to the end of the post to find the answer!

BUT before you read on, answer the poll to the right which one you think it is! No cheating!

This also has a metaphorical meaning of can A exist without B?

Another similar one is "What came first: an orange or the colour of orange?"

These paradoxes and many others exist in nature, a different one being the grandfather paradox, if one goes back in time and kills their grandfather before he met his grandmother, the time traveller wouldn't be born.

This raises suspicion that time travel is impossible or it supports the theories of alternate universes!

Back to chickens

For the full understanding of this answer we need to understand the following words; zygote, DNA, mutation and Species.

  • Zygote - The fertilised egg from (in this case a chicken's) sperm and egg
  • DNA - The cement and bricks of life. sections of these code for genes that determine characteristics of a chicken in this case
  • Mutation - A change in the DNA, sometimes causing different genes instead of the original ones.
  • Species - To determine exactly kind of life something is, it must be categorised into a system. It goes Kingdom; Phylum; Class; Order; Family; Genus; Species. I'll put it in a simpler way, when you want to buy a Harry Potter book it'll be under "Paper, Books, Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Children appropriate, British.
Just like Harry Potter (but in a more real sense), the chicken is listed under Gallus domesticus, that's the genus and species. 

To be a different species, the organism must show characteristics that aren't visible in any other in it's genus. In this case the cause could be the chicken has a mohawk (I don't know).

Now, to get other characteristics, our 'pre-chicken' had to undergo some kind of mutation which changes it's features and define it as a new species. 

A change of this significance can only happen during while the Zygote (our fertilised egg from pre-chicken) is growing.

Therefore our chicken must form from the zygote!

Know what that means yeah?

The egg came first! The features of the chicken to be came from the egg of a pre-chicken which had a mutation to allow it to become a chicken.

I'll try to put it in a simpler way. 
  • Imagine if a pheasant mated with another pheasant. 
  • We get the pheasant egg
  • While the egg is growing, it has a mutation 
  • It changes a gene 
  • Now the organism in the egg has a feature which allows it to be the first of a new species
  • The new species is called chicken!
  • Lets hope the pheasants love the chicken otherwise it'll think it gave birth to a monster!
The result of another mutation..

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