Chicken came before egg, evidence suggests

British scientists claim they've solved one of life's great mysteries, saying the proof is in a protein found in chickens' ovaries, used to form an eggshell.

Wikimedia Commons/Andrei Niemimäki

British scientists claim to have solved one of the great mysteries of life, the universe, and everything in it: The chicken came before the egg, they say, and they're not mincing words.

"It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first," Sheffield University's Colin Freeman, according to a report in the Metro.

Researchers from Scotland and England used a supercomputer called HECToR to look in such detail at a chicken eggshell that they were able to determine the vital role of a protein used to kick-start the egg's formation.

That protein is only found, wait for it...inside a chicken.

Freeman, who worked on HECToR with counterparts at Edinburgh's Warwick University, said the protein had been identified earlier by scientists and was known to be linked to egg formation, "but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process," he added, describing it as a catalyst.

Professor John Harding, who also took part in the research, told Metro the discovery could have other applications.

"Understanding how chickens make shells is fascinating in itself, but can also give clues towards designing new materials." he said.

Which is good, because in spite of HECToR's hard work and the "scientific proof" it yielded, the study offered no explanation as to how the chicken got there in the first place.

If not from an egg, perhaps it just came from across the road.

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

 

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