It's a question that has baffled scientists, academics and pub bores through the ages: What came first, the chicken or the egg?
A team made up of a geneticist, philosopher and chicken farmer claim to have found an answer. It was the egg.
Put simply, the reason is down to the fact that genetic material does not change during an animal's life.
Therefore the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must have first existed as an embryo inside an egg.
The living organism inside the eggshell would have had the same DNA as the chicken it would develop into, he said.
"Therefore, the first living thing which we could say unequivocally was a member of the species would be this first egg," he added. "So, I would conclude that the egg came first."
David Papineau, an expert in the philosophy of science, agreed that the first chicken came from an egg and that proves there were chicken eggs before chickens.
He told PA people were mistaken if they argued that the mutant egg belonged to the "non-chicken" bird parents.
"I would argue it is a chicken egg if it has a chicken in it," he said.
Charles Bourns, chairman of trade body Great British Chicken, said: "Eggs were around long before the first chicken arrived. Of course, they may not have been chicken eggs as we see them today, but they were eggs."
In biology, the term egg is biologically ambiguous and the theory of punctuated equilibrium, for example, does not support a clear division between a chicken and the closest ancestors of that chicken. If the egg is not necessarily of any specific type: Then it could be said that the egg came first, because other animals had been laying eggs long before chickens existed, such as the dinosaurs. In biology, egg is used as a general term in this way.
Chicken or the egg
Chicken and egg debate unscrambled
Category: Cool facts