Home Precision Agriculture Chickens Haven’t Always Been Food, Study Finds

Chickens Haven’t Always Been Food, Study Finds


The rooster’s standing as one of many world’s hottest meals—each for its meat and eggs—was not at all times the case.

New analysis from the College of Exeter finds that historic chickens lived considerably longer than modern-day birds, typically for a number of years. The primary explanation for that longevity? They weren’t seen as meals.

The wild ancestor of the domesticated rooster is the pink junglefowl, native to Southeast Asia; it’s barely smaller than the domesticated rooster, however is extraordinarily apparent in its similarity (which has additionally been confirmed by DNA testing). It was, researchers suppose, domesticated round 8,000 years in the past, and fossil data present chickens confirmed up in China, the place they didn’t stay natively, round 5,400 years in the past. The rooster unfold slowly; it’s unclear precisely when it discovered its technique to Mesopotamia and to Egypt, nevertheless it’s probably not till a lot later; it’s proven in frescoes and different artwork throughout the 18th Dynasty, across the 1400s BC. 

It’s not till the Roman Empire that there’s important proof of chickens as meals, and never till the primary century BC that rooster actually grew to become a considerable meals supply for Europeans. (Within the Americas, there have been no chickens, however the native turkeys have at all times been an necessary meals right here.) 

This new analysis seems to be into the archaeological data of chickens in Britain, and located that the proof traces up with the easy undeniable fact that chickens weren’t actually eaten: they had been buried entire, not reduce up for meals they usually had been typically fairly outdated. Actually, the researchers discovered that over half of the 123 bones (relationship to Britain’s Iron Age and Early Fashionable interval) belonged to chickens greater than two years outdated, and 1 / 4 of them had been greater than three years outdated. Examine that to the lifespan of a contemporary broiler rooster, which is round 5 to seven weeks on common, or egg-laying hens, that are round 72 weeks.

The researchers examined age by analyzing the dimensions of bone spurs, which solely emerge on older birds and develop with age. The final perception is that chickens lived such lengthy lives as a result of they had been prized animals, raised to be proven as an indication of wealth and wonder, or for preventing. Earlier analysis even urged that chickens had been related to deities, and will have been worshipped.


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