the chicken or the egg?

Cecil yous a smart man, you got some straight dope. you answered the question that dope made me think of. peace

You don’t need Cecil to answer that question. Eggs were being laid (by reptiles, fish, other birds) long before the first chicken evolved.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, tapu264, we’re glad to have you with us.

When you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column that you are commenting on. That saves a lot of search time, and perhaps stops people from repeating stuff that’s in the column (as kat did.)

No biggie, you’ll know for next time. In this case, the column is Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I don’t remember posting that. Why do you people let me post at quarter to five in the morning?


Welcome to SDMB, tapu. :slight_smile:

ok, I have a question. What’s the point of the chicken or the egg question?

What I mean is, did it start as something related to evolution (I remember having this discussion with a friend in kindergarten who said, oh, the chicken came first it was created by god…I though she was nuts. Comes from being raise heathen :D).

Or was it just a paradoxical question? Or does it exist to make the terrible joke Cecil mentioned?

It was an old-time joke/paradox, beloved of small children and old vaudevilleans. The egg can’t come first because it needs a chicken to lay it, and the chicken can’t come first because it came from an egg, ha ha ha.

Kind of like why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway, or how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood, such jokes aren’t meant to be actually answered. They’re just jokes.

So, usually the person writing in to ask Cecil is just wisecracking, but occasionally Cecil takes 'em on with a serious response. Or partly serious, anyhow.

I had a neighbor who liked to debate this too, and with the same God-made-the-chicken argument.

I always used to answer, “The chicken came first after the egg.” I’m not sure where that came from.

m, here at chez Aruvqan, the chicken definitely came first.

Actually 2 dozen baby chickens came first, when the select few that didnt get eaten started laying eggs they were about 26 weeks old… :smiley:

Fair enough. Although it certainly seems to have had a second life as a creationist/evolutionist trope, in addition to debates between pre-schoolers, I just saw a church banner that read “Was it the chicken or the egg…or GOD!!!”

I guess the joke has…er…evolved…

I read somewhere (can’t find any cite) that the riddle was contained in one of the first books ever printed by Caxton. Don’t know if he invented it, or what.

I hate to be contrary ( like I would drag up a day-dead-thread for any other reason!) But I couldn’t find anything like the chicken or the egg dilemma on this Caxton site.

Maybe there were only chickens back then?