Native Americans tamed turkeys in 800 B.C.
The two instances of domestication appear to have been separate, based on DNA analysis of ancient turkey remains. However, the different Native American groups could have been in contact with each other, sharing turkey-raising tips.
While turkeys today conjure up thoughts of bountiful roast meat meals and deli sandwiches, Native Americans were not driven by their dinner needs, according to the study, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Interestingly, the domestic turkeys were initially raised for their feathers, which were used in rituals and ceremonies, as well as to make feather robes or blankets," lead author Camilla Speller told Discovery News. "Only later, around 1100 A.D., did the domestic turkeys become an important food source for the Ancestral Puebloans."
Speller's colleague, Dongya Yang, said the new study came together when two groups joined forces. Their group was busy studying ancient turkey bones, while another research team from Washington State University was analyzing early turkey coprolites, i.e. fossilized dung from the birds.
comments powered by Disqus
- Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group
- Say goodbye to the weirdest border dispute in the world
- Harvard acquires Thoreau's notes on the death of Margaret Fuller
- It’s a national historic site, but hardly anybody visits the Idaho internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in WW II
- Big-time Hollywood director makes a movie about Stonewall
- Richard Rothstein says government policy created ghettos
- The Islamic historian who can explain why some states fail and others succeed
- High school senior credited with debunking book by Professor Richard Jensen
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems