Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Exotic Chicken

For a barnyard commoner, the chicken has a surprisingly exotic background. Its immediate ancestor were jungle fowl native to tropical and subtropical Southeast Asia and India. The chicken more or less as we know it was probably domesticated in Southeast Asia before 7,700 BC, which is when larger-than-wild bones date from in Chinese finds far north of the jungle fowl's current range. By 1,500 BC chickens had found their way to Sumer and Egypt and they arrived around 800 BC in Greece, where they became known as "Persian birds," and where quail were the primary source of eggs.

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