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Title: A Reappraisal of the Evidence for Pre-Columbian Introduction of Chickens to the Americas
Contributor(s): Storey, Alice  (author); Quiros, Daniel (author); Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth (author)
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: Acosta (2002 [1590]) was the first to speculate that chickens were introduced to the Americas in the pre-Columbian era. Questions about the origin and timing for the introduction of domestic chickens in the New World have persisted since then and include the present discussion and recent debates between Storey et al. (2008b, 2007) and Gongora et al. (2008a, 2008b). In the past, academic arguments focused on available evidence from historic accounts dating to the early contact period. However, other arguments have been developed around traits exhibited by the Araucana ('Gallus inauris') breed of chicken and how these may point to pre-Columbian introductions. To evaluate these hypotheses we will provide a critical discussion of the morphological traits often used to support a case for the pre-Columbian introduction of the chicken. This will be followed by a detailed discussion of archaeological, radiocarbon, isotopic, and mDNA evidence from chicken remains recovered from the pre-Columbian site of El Arenal in Chile. Here we will also focus further attention on the conclusions of Gongora et al. (2008a), which were based on DNA sequences that came from modern chickens exhibiting some, but not all, of the Araucanian morphological traits. Questions raised by Gongora et al. (2008a, 2008b) will be addressed using additional literature. This overview of evidence and arguments provides a sturdy foundation upon which fresher studies of prehistoric contacts between the Pacific and the Americas can be based.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Polynesians in America: Pre-Columbian Contacts with the New World, p. 139-170
Publisher: AltaMira Press
Place of Publication: California, United States of America
ISBN: 9780759120068
Field of Research (FOR): 210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology
060401 Anthropological Genetics
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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