In ancient times, chickens lived on the tops of trees, scientists have found

(ORDO NEWS) — Forget everything you know about the history of chickens. A breakthrough by British researchers has turned the long history between chickens and humans on its head.

Previously, anthropologists believed that chickens were domesticated 10,000 years ago in China, Southeast Asia, or India, and from there spread to Europe 7,000 years ago.

However, a study published in the journal Antiquity and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA showed that people started domesticating chickens much later.

Until 1500 BC, wild birds lived in the treetop jungles of Southeast Asia, too high to be a constant source of food for humans. But the cultivation of rice caused the predecessor of the modern chicken to come down to earth.

The researchers found that the domestication of rice and chicken went hand in hand. Since the wild birds of the jungle saw rice as a source of food, the farmers thought the same about this bird.

“This comprehensive reassessment of chicken evolution demonstrates in the first place how wrong our understanding of the time and place of their domestication was,” said Oxford University professor Greger Larson.

“And more excitingly, we show how the advent of rice agriculture catalyzed both the domestication of chickens and its global expansion.”

An international team of scientists analyzed chicken bones found in 89 countries.

Radiocarbon dating has found the oldest evidence of a domesticated chicken at Ban Non Wat in central Thailand, dated between 1650 and 1250 BC.

From there, domesticated chickens traveled west, transported across Asia to the Mediterranean, and around 300 AD, chickens were regularly served on the table in Britain.

Prior to this, Iron Age Europeans did not eat chickens, but instead revered them.

“Eating chicken is so common that people think we’ve never eaten it,” said University of Exeter professor Naomi Sykes.

“Our data shows that our past relationship with chickens was much more complex, and that chickens have been celebrated and revered for centuries.”


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