Chickens from Polynesia? Not so fast…

Remember last year’s study about the Gallus gallus and how they proved the Polynesians crossed over into the Americas? A new study published this week seems to contradict that claim.

Chicken Bone Spurs Debate Over Americas’ First Visitors
National Geographic, 28 July 2008

Storey’s team had reported that their ancient chicken bone carried a genetic mutation that linked it to chickens living on Pacific islands from the same time period.

In their new research, Cooper and his team show that the mutation is not unique to ancient Chilean or Polynesian chickens. Rather, it is present in modern Chilean chickens as well as in thousands of other chicken breeds living worldwide.

“The Chilean modern birds turn out to have standard European chicken DNA,” Cooper said. “We found no evidence of them being having an unusual lineage.”

So why did the chicken cross the Pacific?

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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