Study Suggests Chickens Were Domesticated 3,500 Years Ago

bild3 knochen jonathan rees cardiff university 1 1 format mMUNICH, GERMANY—“Cereal cultivation may have acted as a catalyst for chicken domestication,” zooarchaeologist Joris Peters of Ludwig Maximilian University said in a Science News report. Peters and his colleagues, including bioarchiologist Julia Best of Cardiff University, examined Gallus gallus domesticus bones recovered from more than 600 archaeological sites in 89 countries. The earliest known chicken remains, dated to between 1650 and 1250 B.C., have been identified at Ban Non Wat, a site in central Thailand where rice was planted on upland soil soaked by seasonal rains. The rice fields are thought to have attracted wild red jungle fowl who then came in contact with humans. Partial skeletons and remains of whole early chickens have been found in human burials at Ban Non Wat and other Southeast Asian sites, indicating that they may have held social or cultural significance, Peters added. Domesticated chickens are then thought to have arrived in central China, Iran, and Iraq about 3,000 years ago, Europe some 2,800 years ago, and Africa between 1,100 and 800 years ago. Previous studies had suggested that chickens arrived in Eurasia and Africa several thousand years earlier, but the new study indicates that the bones may have settled into lower sediment layers over time, throwing off attempts to date them. For more on the domestication of chickens, go to “Fast Food.


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