Skip to main content

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

  • 22,529,037 Views
  • 8,834 Questions Answered
  • Best of Web

Let’s Begin…

It's a question that has perplexed everyone from the ancient Greeks to modern scholars. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Take a crack at this curious conundrum.

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators

Additional Resources for you to Explore
The chicken or the egg causality dilemma is commonly stated as "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" To ancient philosophers, the question about the first chicken or egg also evoked the questions of how life and the universe in general began.In yet another absolutely amazing display of nature's prowess, the contents of the egg are wrapped in a perfect, seamless, incredibly strong shell as though by magic! Eggs are objects of art. It turns out the chicken has little to do with the formation of an egg's shell -- the egg actually grows the shell around itself! It does this using processes that are also seen in bones and seashells.Why do eggs become hard when you boil them?Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He's found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he's taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits — including teeth, tails, and even hands — to make a "Chickenosaurus".To look at the evolution of modern bird feathers, we must start a long time ago, with the dinosaurs from whence they came. We see early incarnations of feathers on dinosaur fossils, and remnants of dinosaurs in a bird’s wish bone. Carl Zimmer explores the stages of evolution and how even the reasons for feathers have evolved over millions of years.How can a “thumbs up” sign help us remember five processes that impact evolution? The story of the Five Fingers of Evolution gives us a clever way of understanding change in gene pools over time.How does evolution really work? Actually, not how some of our common evolutionary metaphors would have us believe. For instance, it's species, not individual organisms, that adapt to produce evolution, and genes don't "want" to be passed on -- a gene can't want anything at all! Alex Gendler sets the record straight on the finer points of evolution.
Avatar for Arthur Gamet
03/12/2014 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Jamie Bennett
which came first the bird or the chicken. like the bat the bird found no predators and lost its ability to fly eating bugs on the ground. it also needed to protect its newborn young from the cold or heat so it developed a shell as the chick matured so it could go back to eating bugs to survive. so the real question here is what came first the bird or the egg.
02/22/2014 • 
 3 Responses
 / 3 Updates
Avatar for conor skalski
I think they go well with some salt and toast plus butter
09/16/2015 • 
 2 Responses
 / 2 Updates
Avatar for Jack Dematteo
the chicken and egg cant be mixed
09/16/2015 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for danielle carara
09/16/2015 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for matthew ziegler
09/16/2015 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Juan Miguel Lombert Franco
09/16/2015 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Bobby Caze
09/16/2015 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for joanie scheller
the egg was put in with all these chemiclas and now that they can grow on there own and not need a chicken to help it grow
10/20/2015 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for Roland St.Germain
We're talking about a young inexperienced rooster, it was his first date with a chicken, he was already overexcitable when the chicken invited him upstairs for a drink. As you can probably guess, it was an embarrassing experience for the rooster, and the chicken never called him again. Such a sad story, but at least it answers the question ... kind of.
11/06/2015 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for benjamin silva
05/02/2016 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for lucy wrightson
each generation would have got closer and closer to what it is today so can you explain when it officially completed the transformaion
05/23/2016 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Había Ramirez Martinez
I say yes, since it is a thorough investigation to be able to understand beyond what happened and to know clearly or getting closer to the result of which it was first.
10/01/2017 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for Había Ramirez Martinez
I say yes, since it is a thorough investigation to be able to understand beyond what happened and to know clearly or getting closer to the result of which it was first.
10/01/2017 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for tizhaideil simmons
So proto-hen laid an egg, and proto-rooster fertilized it. ... So in a nutshell (or an eggshell, if you like), two birds that weren't really chickens created a chicken egg, and hence, we have an answer: The egg came first, and then it hatched a chicken.
10/29/2019 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for 김 윤지
09/19/2020 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Christina Abdelsaid
08/31/2021 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Tommy Keithline-Roberts
10/12/2021 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Joseph D’Itri
04/13/2022 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates

Customize this lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators