Which came first, the chicken or the egg? For the sake of scientific inquiry, we have to imagine an evolutionary world. Clearly, there were many species around long before the first chicken came into existence, and it goes without saying that some of these laid eggs. It would follow that the egg came first. However, the conundrum as postulated seems to imply the modifier "chicken" before "egg" . . . after all, if it is so obvious that earlier species laid eggs, why is it a question at all which came first? So in order to figure out the answer to our implied question, whether the chicken or the chicken egg came first, we have to look to the way the first chicken came into existence. In an evolutionary world, the first chicken must have been born from an egg that came out of the business end of an early bird that was very much like a chicken, a proto-chicken that resembled a chicken in most aspects but fell some minute mutation short of actually being one. Hence, its mutated offspring actually had the definitive characteristics of Gallus gallus, which it lacked itself. Now the question becomes a definitional one: is that intermediary egg, the one that came out of proto-chicken and carried the first chicken, a chicken egg? Is an egg defined by the animal that produces it, or the animal inside it? If it is the latter, the egg is clearly a chicken egg, because it carries a chicken, and so the egg came first. If it is the former, the egg is a proto-chicken egg, and the first chicken egg didn't come until after the chicken, when the chicken was old enough to lay it. To solve this definitional quandary, we turn to Webster's:
eggn, often attrib [ME egge, fr. ON egg; akin to OE æg egg, L ovum, Gk öion] (14c) 1 a : the hard-shelled reproductive body produced by a bird and especially by the common domestic chicken . . . .