The age-old question of who came first – the chicken or the egg – has been pondered countless times, and put great thinkers throughout history in a predicament. An oddity of nature which recently occurred on a Sri Lankan farm may offer clues towards answering the riddle. There a hen gave birth to a chick without an egg, which is normally formed and healthy, according to veterinarians.
Instead of laying the egg and incubating it in a nest, the egg was incubated inside the hen for 21 day and hatched inside the mother, which died from the internal wounds. A later examination showed that the fertilized egg had developed within the hen’s reproductive system but stayed inside the hen’s body until it hatched.
Two years ago, researchers from Scotland and England used a supercomputer called HECToR to analyze in high detail a chicken eggshell and determined the vital role of a protein used to kick-start the egg’s formation – a protein only found in a chicken. The protein had been identified earlier by scientists and was known to be linked to egg formation, now described as a catalyst. At the time, this was deemed as a scientific proof that the chicken definitely came before the egg.