We’ve all fought about this subject, from kids in school to college professors, and from chickens to eggs. After many, many years of confusion, a team from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom has finally come up with an answer. So, recent theories say that dinosaurs, which are the ancestors of chickens, laid eggs millions of years before chickens did.
But experts have found that the chicken’s oldest reptile ancestors may not have laid eggs. These reptiles lived a long time ago, before dinosaurs. Definitely more important than the chicken-and-egg debates we used to have at school. The study, which was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, looked at 51 extinct species and 29 living species by putting them into two groups: those that lay hard or soft eggs and those that give birth to live young, like humans.
People think that the reptiles that came before chickens were viviparous, which means they had live babies instead of eggs. Researchers at Bristol University and Nanjing University in China think that this new discovery is even more amazing than the fact that some animals lay eggs with hard shells. Their research shows that the best way to protect this group of animals was for the mother to keep the baby inside her until it was born.
This means that back then, giving birth to a live chicken was safer than laying an egg. Michael Benton of the University of Bristol said, in much more technical language, that the first tetrapods to get legs from fish fins were mostly amphibious before the amniotes.Like amphibians like frogs and salamanders today, they had to live near or in water to eat and have babies.
When amniotes first showed up 320 million years ago, they were able to get out of the water because they had waterproof skin and other ways to control how much water they took in. But the amniotic egg was the key. He said that their work and the work of many others over the past few years have put an end to the old “reptile egg” model of texts.
Professor Baoyu Jiang, who led the study, said that this common view has been questioned. Biologists say that many lizards and snakes have a flexible way of having babies that includes both oviparity and viviparity. Sometimes, closely related species do both, and it turns out that lizards that give birth to live young can go back to laying eggs much more easily than was thought before.
So it looks like the argument has been settled, or at least weakened, because these experts have said that, scientifically, it may be the chicken that came first, but they’re both tasty.