Chicken and Egg – the Answer

The question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, is presented as a lighthearted conundrum. If the egg came first, well, then, what laid the egg? If the chicken came first, hey, how about the egg from which the chicken had to emerge?

But there really is an answer. I think.

Well, first off, in very literal terms, the egg came first, because eggs were being deposited by critters long before chickens made it to this world and our frying pans.

But from the practical standpoint, this was explained to me by the Youngest. I think he was in middle school at the time. He’s pretty smart, and by “pretty smart” I mean “the smartest one of us.” He gave a succinct explanation, but despite what my birth certificate says, Verbose is my middle name, so “succinct” ain’t the coin of this realm (and if you think this posting of mine is verbose, just follow that link to the Wikipedia article). But the answer goes something like this:

We have a species called Chicken. And that species evolved, or was bred, from a prior species. Call that prior species Protochicken.

At some point in the evolutionary process, a taxonomist or geneticist or evolutionary biologist might draw a line and say, “Here’s here Protochicken ends and Chicken begins.” So when First Chicken came from the previous Protochicken, First Chicken came from Protochicken’s egg.

So it’s the egg. The egg came first.

Now, I am not a taxonomist or geneticist or evolutionary biologist, but I know enough to know that it doesn’t really happen that way. You don’t have a sharp transition from one species to another any more than you have a bright-line distinction of going from child to adult.

Well, you don’t have that bright line in reality except under the law in this USofA, which says on the 364th day of age 17, you’re a kid, and the day after, you’re an adult, and we humans just accept those weird ways that we do things. Okay, there’s no real difference in ourselves between those two days, except that we have a law to say we’re different. It’s kinda like we won’t really have climate change if we just pass a law that says, “We don’t have climate change.” That’ll show Nature!

But anyway, if we’re making up fun conundrums about origins, then we can follow up with fun solutions. And I just did. Now go fry an egg.

Now, if you’re going to tell me that species don’t evolve from other species, and I’m a rotten “evolutionist,” that’s a whole ‘nother discussion that I don’t care to have, because I like to debate with facts. And I’m an “evolutionist” in the sense that I’m an “oxygenist” or “gravitist.” It’s not a belief structure. It’s just a fact of our world. But if you want to press that, and you’re very sure about it, I will very politely suggest that you send an application to join the Flat Earth Society and stop using the phrase “what goes around comes around.”

Besides, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson agrees with me. And my faithful readers, both of you, know how I feel about him.

— Grandpa

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