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Apr 13 2007

The Egg, of Course

There are things we say without thinking about or knowing what they mean. “I could care less.” (Really. Then why do you sound so scornful?) “Penultimate.” (You know a prefix changes the meaning of a word, right?)

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Grr.

This one’s bugged me for years. I grew up in the midst of dinosaur mania. I’ve seen the fossilized eggs. I knew what birds descended from. The second I stopped to think about it, I knew which came first. Whatever the first chicken’s parents were, they hatched from and laid eggs. That chicken had to wait in line.

It all seemed so transparent that anytime I heard somebody ask the well-worn question, I had to check whether I was dealing with a closet creationist.

Turns out I was wrong. Sort of. We didn’t know until recently. So, to everyone I’ve looked at funny over the years, I’m sorry. I was making assumptions I had no right to make. Please accept my humble apology.

But can we stop saying it now?

3 comments

  1. 1
    Sean M. Murphy

    I’m not sure how you were wrong. In fact, it looks an aful lot like you were right (and me too).The egg done come first. Septin’ it wuzzun so much ‘negg uv a chicken, buts a egg uv one o’ them thar dy-no-saurs. Same as same, though, I say. Them chickens walks kinda funny, anyhow.

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    It was only the certainty that was wrong. I’m just trying to keep humble, you know.

  3. 3
    Sean M. Murphy

    I’ll go make us both some pie.

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