Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers Not Sure: When Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

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"Why did the chicken cross the road" is certainly an old joke, but just how old is it? Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Answers.com all cite 1915 as the year the joke first appeared in print, but new research from XooxleAnswers shows that the joke is considerably older than previously thought, dating back at least to the mid-19th century. While not earth-shaking news, the finding highlights the importance of careful research, and reliable resources.

""Why did the chicken cross the road" is certainly an old joke, but just how old is it? New research from XooxleAnswers shows that the joke is considerably older than previously thought. Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Answers.com all cite 1915 as the year the joke first appeared in print. However, the new XooxleAnswers research dates it to the mid-19th century.

"This isn't earth-shaking news," said XooxleAnswers founder David Sarokin, "but it certainly highlights the importance of careful research and fact-checking. Not all information on the internet is reliable."

"The joke is generally dated back to the early 1900's," according Sarokin. "In fact, Wikipedia, Answers.com, and Yahoo Answers all cite 1915 as the first time the joke appeared in print."

"But our historical research team at XooxleAnswers turned up numerous earlier print versions of the joke, going back to the mid-19th century".

The earliest version of the joke found by XooxleAnswers dates back to 1847, and appeared in a New York monthly magazine, The Knickerbocker.

The joke, in its original form, went like this:

...There are 'quips and quillets' which seem actual conundrums, but yet are none. Of such is this: 'Why does a chicken cross the street? Are you 'out of town?' Do you 'give it up?' Well, then: 'Because it wants to get on the other side!'

"I had to read it a few times before making sense of the 19th century cadence." said Sarokin, "but sure enough, that's the chicken joke, as plain as can be."

"The internet has made so many tremendous tools available for historical research," continued Sarokin, "that it's critical to be thorough about your results before publicly presenting them as definitive answers. Otherwise, so-called facts become nothing more than urban legends."

Sarokin added, "Even when the question is about the history of a joke, unsubstantiated facts have a way of taking on a life of their own, especially on the internet. We've updated the Wikipedia entry and hope to be able to correct other erroneous sources soon".

Further information about the origins of the "Why did the chicken cross the road" joke can be found at the XooxleAnswers website.

Additional information:
More on the history of "Why did the chicken…?
http://xooxleanswers.com/chickencrosstheroad.aspx

XooxleAnswers main page:
http://xooxleanswers.com/default.aspx

About XooxleAnswers: XooxleAnswers (say 'zooks-il answers') is a professional research service headed by David Sarokin, a well-known expert on internet research resources, and a former researcher with Google Answers.

CONTACT INFORMATION
David Sarokin
XooxleAnswers
david @ xooxleanswers.com
202-363-5856

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