For generations, human beings have been beating their heads against the proverbial wall, trying in vain to figure out which came first—the chicken, or the egg. Over the years, the adage has come to represent life’s many unknowable riddles. But now, thanks to a group of Japanese high school students and their “mad scientist” biology teacher, the question now feels beside the point: chickens apparently no longer need eggs at all.
A video posted to YouTube Monday shows the eager, giggling students breaking a number of eggs, storing the embryos in clear, cellophane-wrapped containers, and then incubating them until they’re ready to hatch 21 days later, all for a school science project. By the end of the video, a chicken can be seen running around the floor of the classroom.
According to Motherboard, the students’ teacher, Yutaka Tahara, has actually been working towards perfecting the method for years, and his ambitions extend far beyond the classroom.
“The development of shell-less culture methods for bird embryos with high hatchability would be useful for the efficient generation of transgenic chickens, embryo manipulations, tissue engineering, and basic studies in regenerative medicine,” a 2014 study in the Journal of Poultry Science, which lists Tahara as a co-author, reads. “[W]e successfully achieved a high hatchability with this method in chicken embryo culture using an artificial vessel.
Tahara also demonstrated the technique in a video posted to YouTube in 2014, and, according to Rocket News 24, it took the professor 30 years of trial and error before he was able to achieve a success rate of roughly 50 percent.
Depending how you look at it, the video is either incredibly adorable or shockingly unnerving. Either way, the students appear to be enjoying the ride. “‘Peep, peep,’ just like that!” one girl grins in the clip.