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Which came first: The chicken or the egg? It's a simple question with grand implications about philosphy, the origins of life, and the creation of our universe. Perhaps that's why humans have pondered the riddle for centuries. But do we finally have an answer? Maybe, now that a mother hen in Sri Lanka has given birth to a baby chick — without an egg. Here, a brief guide to this intriguing tale:

How was a chick born without an egg?
"Normally, eggs are passed out of a hen's body and incubated" in the outside world, says the U.K.'s Metro. But in this case, in a medical mystery that local vets have yet to solve, the egg was incubated inside the mother hen for 21 days, and the chick hatched while still inside its mother. The "cute, fluffy miracle chick did have a shell," says MSN, but it was technically inside its mother, so there was no egg, per se. Sounds like the mama hen was trying to "bite humans' style," says Caity Weaver at Gawker.

How are the hen and chick doing?
Sadly, the mother hen died from internal wounds. "There were lacerations and a tear of the reproductive tract that caused the death," veterinarian P.R. Yapa tells AFP. At least the baby is doing well, says the BBC. "The chick is fully formed and healthy." 

Has this happened before?
"I had only heard about such aberrations," Yapa tells AFP, "but I was able to see it for myself" in this case.

But does this solve the chicken-egg mystery in any satisfying way?
Hardly. After all, there was sort of an egg in this case — it just never made its way outside the mother's body. And yet others are willfully ignoring that technicality, and taking this incident as definitive proof. Clearly, "the chicken came first," concludes Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror, "not the egg."

Sources: BBC, GawkerMetro, MSN