The chicken and the egg riddle is a linguistics problem.
Depends on whether you say it's a chicken or a hen it could be the egg or the animal:
-If it's hen, then the hen came first.
-If it's chicken, then the egg came first.
A chicken just means a chicken. If you wanted to communicate that it is male you would say rooster. For the purpose of the 'paradox' it is assumed that the chicken is a hen.
Anyway the answer is the egg.
Species change over time. Eventually you get an animal that wouldn't be able to breed with its ancestor X generations ago. So they were the same species then, but not from our perspective in the present.
>no individual animal could lay a chicken egg and not already be a chicken
The riddle doesn't say "chicken egg".
And it's not really a riddle anyway, it's a general-purpose metaphor for uncertainty.
>Any animal with only one or two mutations away would still be considered a chicken.
What? If we draw a hard line at "chicken vs non-chicken" somewhere in their evolution, any animal on the "not a chicken" side of the line is not a chicken.
It's like asking "how many is many"?
Surely 3 isn't "many".
And 4 is just one more, so that can't be "many" either.
If 4 isn't many, just one more can't be many either, so 5 isn't many.
Totally Agree. You can not draw any hardlines when it comes to species development, if you do, you fall into the sand pile paradox.
For those who don't know, if you start with a single grain of sand and add a single grain bit by bit? At what number does a pile of sand become a heap?
What you probably had before the chicken was some sort of lean bird that produced a slightly fatter more domestically acceptable offspring, and these slight changes culminated into the chicken. A chicken could probably reproduce with the transition species but not the original lean bird anymore.
Wait but we can define a new species as an animal which cannot breed with the species it branches off from?
At some point then, would an organism appear which cannot breed with its own mother?
If that were the case, how would it mate and develop into a new species?
Actually it should be an ancestor of the chicken gave birth to an individual that had the specificity of laying eggs, and that specimen laid an egg of a closer ancestor of the chicken.
The correct answer is that there is no such thing as a chicken, but instead an evolutionary process that we are witnesses to in a miniscule frame.
The chicken is our objectification of a particular organisms evolutionary lineage at a focal, frozen point.
That's just avoiding the problem. The fact of the matter is that a chicken, whether male or female is produced by a chicken egg. Simply changing the gender of the chicken being hatched doesn't solve the problem.
The only way to logically resolve the problem is through evolution, as other anons have suggested.
At some point, there was a pre-proto-chicken that laid the egg that hatched the proto-chicken that then began laying eggs that would hatch what we now know as the modern chicken. This is of course disgustingly over simplified, and pretty much ignores the modern understanding of speciation, but the point is the same. The answer with this understanding is simple, and based on how one defines a chicken egg.
If a chicken egg is an egg laid by a chicken, the proto-chicken came first, therefore the chicken came first.
If a chicken egg is an egg that hatches a chicken, then the pre-proto-chicken's egg came first, and therefore the egg came first.
>The answer with this understanding is simple, and based on how one defines a chicken egg.
No, because no matter how you define it, the transition you are talking about doesn't exist. There is no first chicken. There is no first chicken egg. Therefore asking which came first is a nonsense question.
I'll agree that speciation doesn't work like that, but the point stands that at some point an egg was laid containing a chicken-like bird that had genetics sufficiently similar to the modern chicken to be called a chicken, while its parents differed ever so slightly enough to not be called chicken. I'm not really a biology guy, but from what I recall from AP bio back in HS, this isn't contradictory to modern biology.
If someone wanted to start from scratch, controling the evolution ( And almost more importantly size! ) of a population for millions and billions of years, with a pre-determined percentage of the modern chicken genome being the end goal, there would eventually be an egg laid that contained that percentage of chicken genome. Sure, with continued breeding it may drop, and its offspring may not be true chickens, but with more time ( And more selective breeding ), the average percentage of that genome in the population would rise, eventually high enough to call the population identical modern chickens, but there would always be a proto-chicken.
This is the scenario I was picturing when I explained it in my last post, and I clearly didn't explain it enough. If I'm wrong on any of it the point is moot anyway, but I'm certain that this is a resolution to the paradox, or whatever category of logical hole this falls in to.