The question that’s been bothering generations – “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” may finally have been answered.
Some years ago, a businessman obtained a collection of broken and intact dinosaur egg from a nest found in Central China.
Vertebrate palaeontologists have examined one complete egg which was found to have an embryo inside.
This embryo, nicknamed “Baby Yinghiang” belongs to a species of toothless, beaked dinosaurs, or oviraporosaurus.
The interesting thing is that, with the exception of a long tail, the embryo is identical to a chicken embryo at about 18 days of incubation.
It is in the equivalent to the “tucked” position found in the chicken embryo at this stage. It was lying with it’s back in the broader end of the egg and with it’s tail, the only difference to a chicken embryo, curled in the pointed end.
The egg was 17cm long and the embryo about 27cm, including it’s tail.
The head was vertical to the body, with it placed between the legs, and with the “wings” placed each side of the head, as if covering it’s ears. The head is, like the chicken embryo, more located under the right wing then central. The beak and back are against the air cell, about 1.9cm in size.
The embryo had typical feathers on body and wings, and nails on the claws.
Even though 72 million years old, it is a clear indication that the egg, albeit dinosaur, gave rise to the eventual development of the bird, including the chicken.