What came earlier, egg or hen?What came earlier, egg or hen?

Expert Answers
sanjeetmanna eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just like tree came first or seed, its not so easy to answer which came first. When we look back around 4.5 billion years when life started in earth, some say life started with algae and some says life started with cyanobacteria and some says that the gases and other compounds in the environment they reacted in presence of pressure and lightning it gave rise to a complex molecule and slowly the complex molecule gave rise to an organism. With time eukaryotes slowly gave rise to multiple cell organism. Then with genetic variations which gave rise to many species. Upon reproduction they produced egg which agian gave to a new individual. We cannot predict the exact answer of evolution but we can predict that a plant came first then seed or hen came first then egg.

wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Darwinian answer is different: a creature that was almost a chicken (hen) laid an egg that had a few genetic or chromosonal glitches in it that resulted in a hen being born.  Think of finches: a finch with a beak that could eat a certain kind of seed gave birth (via egg) to a finch just exactly like it, except for a slight genetic change that gave it a sightly different beak, allowing it to eat a different seed.  The named creature ("almost a" chicken) makes an egg that turns out to be something other than the named creature (turns out to be a chicken).  By this logic, the egg had to come first.  When the egg grows up, it's a hen.  A non-thing can lay an egg that turns out to be a thing.

bandmanjoe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think, whether you view it from an evolutionary standpoint or a creation standpoint, we must agree the chicken had to be here first to lay the egg.  From evolution, something like a chicken evolved to the point where it layed eggs and had a higher survival rate than its predecessors.  From creation, God created all the animals, chickens included. The chickens laid eggs from that point on.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Post #3.  The first chicken would have hatched from an egg laid by something that was not quite a chicken.  

Of course, if you are religious, you can say that whatever God decided to make first is what came first.  There would be no logic in this view, it would just depend on whether God decided to make a full grown chicken or an egg with a chick inside.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the evolutionary standpoint, post #3 has it right. Keep in mind that a egg -actually an embryo- has TWO parents. In order for a new species (i.e., a chicken) to arise, the genetics of two not-quite-chicken parents has to come together just right. So the egg came first.

astrosonuthird | Student

Oh! So, you think God created it.


Yes it may be if we believe in God.



I believe in God! even the scientists believe in God.


hadjartahax | Student

I agree that the hen  came first.  If the hen was not there how could there be an egg first? I think the chicken was created my God and the hen laid the egg. That's my opinion. Others believe it's the egg that was first.

astrosonuthird | Student

How lizard?


Chicken or egg?



I think its egg. The first egg of hen was not given by a hen. I say it likethis because there is no possibilities. Some other organsim has given out this egg and due to some reaction, the hen evolved.


tarzan322 | Student

The lizard.

jjrichardson | Student

simple. God created all of the creatures on Earth (religiously speaking) so that would include chickens that produce the eggs.

nicoledesilva | Student

It is a circular answer that has no end.

kavya--kammana | Student

it is not scientifically proven yet.

science changes everyday.

if today science say it is true maybe it can say it is false the next day.

like some people proved that the theroy of Albert Einstein is wrong .....and world is confused....we have to accept the changes in science...so untill the science say a word we can determine who came first

it is believed that a sign of life first  from water bodies. and then animals and humans were born so like that only the hen species were formed.!!!!!!!!

gohzhijie | Student

The egg came first, I suppose. Using the theory of evolution, going back a long long list of eggs and chickens, there will come to a point where the animals which lay these eggs cease to be classified as ‘chickens’. But there will still be more eggs down the list before the things that these animals lay cease to be classified as eggs. Therefore the egg came first.

Shruthi Keerthi | Student

I agree to post #2. Actuality comes before potentiality. Simple organisms developed into other organisms so definitely the hen came before the egg.

topalle | Student
it is proven that hen came first
susdas | Student

It seems to be a great discussion topic though it doesn't have any solution.
This is because of to  questions:-

  1. If the egg came first then who laid the egg ??
  2. If the hen came first then from where dos it born??

So these two questions make this obvious that it doesn't have any answer.

More over there are some questions in the world without answer.This is one of them.

najm1947 | Student

Interesting discussion, but how about a cock that fertilises the egg. So why not consider a cock first?

A Komodo dragon does not need a male to hatch fertile eggs when isolated and has both male and female offspring. So one may say it was the hen first.

From the religious point of view, one may argue because Adam was created first so one may infer that the cock came first.

The evolutionists point of view is given in posts 3-6, the egg first.

However, I wonder how such a discussion be of any benefit to humanity? Are we here only to sharpen our discussion skills on such topics?


jangsoyoung45 | Student

This question has been asked throughout history and many famous philosophers and mathematicians have answered this question. Probably the most famous of all answers is the one that Renee Descartes gave when one of his students had asked him the very same question. His response was that an egg represents potentiality of a chicken or hen, and a chicken or hen represents actuality. He concluded that actuality must come before potentiality, therefore, the hen comes before the egg.  Also a similar reasoning was given by the mathematician Leibniz when he was asked the same question. If you remember that something that exists must come before something that will exist, then it is an easy answer to deduce. 

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