Sunday, November 25, 2012
Science Sunday: Where were turkeys domesticated in the first place?
Welcome back to Science Sundays! First things first: have you entered my giveaway for a book of your choice? Just leave a comment at this post, and enter the rafflecopter! Very simple :)
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Okay, science, back to it!
So, today, as many of us indulge in post-thanksgiving turkey leftovers (I need to learn how to make turkey soup!) I got to thinking about where turkeys come from in the first place. My friend, and professor at the University of Washington, Dr. Brian Kemp, and his co-authors (Camilla Spencer) have done a little ancient DNA research into this very topic, so I thought I'd draw on their article and talk about it here!
The first domestication of turkey probably took place in Mexico, where there was a huge civilization center with ongoing agriculture in the form of maize (corn), beans, and many other foods. Seriously, Mexico was the place to be! There is a species of turkey in this region that was domesticated, most likely in south-central Mexico.
The other area where domestication took place was in the Southwest of the US. Here we also see a huge cultural area, with farming and all kinds of massive architecture and cultural centers (this is the area where I did my dissertation research and I adore it here!). It's thought (though not known for sure) that the knowledge of turkey domestication was brought into the area, along with some turkeys, and the people decided that they could exploit native turkeys--the Rio Grande/Eastern breed that comes from this region.
If you'd like some more information on this fun topic, definitely check out the link to the article above!
So, what's your favorite turkey leftover?