Scratch that famous question off the list of unsolvable riddles because now there is an answer to, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Scientists have confirmed that an egg must receive a protein found in chicken ovaries before it can be developed. Therefore, it would be impossible for there to have ever been an egg without a chicken.
That's the conclusion from English universities Sheffield and Warwick in a paper caled "Structural Control or Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein," according to British newspaper The Sun.
An egg's shell is developed by ovocledidin-17 (OC-17), a protein that is necessary to form andd crystallize the egg. Sheffield professor Dr. Colin Freeman said, "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. The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation, but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process."
In addition to solving a popular children's riddle, the research will hopefully provide more answers to the way animal proteins are formed, and could lead to the invention of new materials. Oh, and PETA members will be happy to know that no chickens were harmed in during the study.