Chinese Research Concludes Egg Comes Before Chicken

Sunday, December 1, 2019

New fossil evidence could be key to answering origin of life. (CNA photo)

Chinese Academy of Sciences provides answer to long-time evolutionary dilemma based on fossil studies.

The Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology (NIGPAS) in China announced Thursday (Nov. 28) that it has unraveled the answer to the chicken or egg causality dilemma — and potentially laid a new foundation for the history of biology.

NIGPAS researchers Yin Zong-jun (殷宗軍) and Zhu Mao-yan (朱茂炎) recently teamed up with University of Bristol, the Swedish Royal Museum of Natural History, and Swiss Light Source (SLS) to discover a 609 million-year-old fossil of Caveasphaera, a multicellular organism that resembles an animal embryo, in China's Guizhou Province. The team suspected the ball-shaped cell clusters could be the origin of animals today, according to CNA.

The study results were published in the biweekly scientific journal "Current Biology" on Wednesday (Nov. 27). The results pointed out that Caveasphaera appeared to share striking similarities with animal embryos and bridges the gap between single-cell and multicellular organisms.

Although further examinations still need to be performed, the fossils potentially explain how life came about. NIGPAS research team said the findings could lay a new foundation for the history of biology.

Founded in 1951, NIGPAS is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and is known as one of the world's leading academic institutions specializing in invertebrate paleontology and stratigraphy. It has actively engaged in international research collaborations as well as academic exchanges, according to the NIGPAS website.