Tyler Vendetti
November 23, 2015 2:39 pm

We’ve all heard the classic riddle “what came first, the chicken or the egg,” right? But what about “the egg within an egg”? This past week, a couple in Perrenporth, Cornwall made a startling discovery when, in the middle of preparing dinner, they cracked open an egg to find another egg sitting inside, perfectly in tact.

The couple, Jane and Chris Keast, are the proud owners of a smallholding with over a dozen chickens, which they use to supply eggs to friends and family. One evening, as she was doing her rounds, Jane noticed a particularly large egg and, suspecting it might have a double yolk inside, cracked it open, only to find a small, olive-sized egg inside with the outer shell perfectly in-tact.

“She cracked it open in the pan and shouted for me to come and look and there was a second egg next to the one she had just cracked open,” said her husband, who was rushed into the room to witness this unusual discovery.

Thankfully, the contents of the mystery ball were not out of the ordinary. She did not find a tiny chicken when she split the mini-egg open or a collection of chocolate candies like an old-fashioned Wonder Ball (as interesting as that might have been) but rather, just plain ol’ egg whites. Apparently, this sort of thing is not entirely uncommon. Hens release an egg cell every 16-26 hours, which travels through the hen’s system until it (literally) comes out the other side as an egg. But when a cell is released too soon after the previous one, it may end up floating along with the first and sort of merging together, creating this “eggception.” This process, called a counter-peristalsis contraction, can occur if a hen is given some sort of shock during the cell formation process (i.e. a loud noise, an unfamiliar human presence, a surprising Walking Dead spoiler) and cause this double-egg dilemma. Not only does this force the hen to lay a particularly large egg, but it also puts its owners in an uncomfortable position when they go to make dinner and realize that their egg has uh, laid an egg. In the end, the couple were particularly laid-back about the whole thing.

Jane explained: “I have never seen anything like it before. It was much smaller than the first egg and perfectly round.” She even grabbed her husband’s camera phone to snag a picture and prove to the world that she may have just discovered the world’s tiniest chicken egg. The discovery also lent the Internet some eggcellent (sorry) materials for pun-making and jokes:

My question is: would it be such a bad thing if, with every egg, came another, smaller egg inside? Two eggs for the price of one doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, after all, and it would certainly make breakfast time a lot more interesting.

Featured image via iStock, Twitter