Subject: how did the chicken cross the ocean from Asia? From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 1997/04/30 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,sci.archaeology.mesoamerican, sci.bio.misc,sci.anthropology,sci.agriculture Greetings all! I'm back again after a rather long break, trying to figure out where I left off the discussions that were rather active at the time. As many of the readers in these groups know well, I have a particular interest in the theories dealing with the possibilities of trans-Pacific diffusion in ancient times. There's a large and growing body of evidence that indicates that ancient peoples were exchanging cultural knowledge across the Pacific Ocean (also, quite possibly across the Atlantic) in ancient times, 2 and 3 thousand years ago. These theories are not exactly mainstream. In fact the mainstream academic opinion looks at these theories with thinly disguised horror. It is difficult for those not in the know to imagine the depth of resentment that these theories evoke in most specialists in American prehistory. Yes, friends, this is true. Why this is so is a difficult matter to explain, and I will not try to explain it at this point, although previously I tried. Maybe later. But one thing is clear. A significant amount of detailed research has been published in solid, although perhaps obscure, academic publications pertaining to this matter. I have done my best in the past to dig out and assemble some of this information that is not well known even among the specialists in the field. Among the matters I raised is the "Mystery of the American Chicken". You see, the common domestic chicken has been domesticated in South East Asia in ancient times. Yet when the Spanish came to America -- strange to imagine -- they reported often that the natives in many parts of America had the chicken! So a number of researchers believe that the chicken made it to America before Columbus, brought over by some ancient mariners. ... [independent invention, i.e. convergence?] The big debate in such cases as this is obviously between diffusion vs. independent invention. In the case of the chicken, Johannessen indicates clearly that independent invention of such rituals as he discovered among Mayan-speaking tribes in Central and S. America is hardly possible. Diffusion from Asia in ancient times makes much more sense as an explaination. I should add here the following correction of some of the things I stated before. In our previous discussions of precolumbian chickens in America we were wondering about what was the range of this hypothetical precolumbian chicken dispersal. Many eyewitnesses reported chickens at contact in South America. But there was some confusion about whether or not the chicken was in Central and North America. After reading George Carter's article in MAN ACROSS THE SEA, I was led to believe for a while that chickens did not spread to Central America pre-contact. After some further research, I now believe that chickens were present at contact in Central and North America. This whole matter is rather complicated and the information about it is scarce. To summarize, my main reasons for believing that chicken was in America pre-contact are as follows: a) The kinds of birds in possession by remote Native tribes are quite rare Asian breeds, including the so-called Black Meated Chicken, and also the chicken laying blue eggs! These were unknown in Europe. b) It is clear from ethnographical literature that Native tribes possess a great number of unusual ritualistic complexes centering on the chicken. These have links with Asia and certainly not with Europe. In particular, and perhaps the strangest cultural trait of all, the Natives, even in our times in some cases, eat neither the flesh nor the eggs of chickens! How would they learn this from the Spanish? Impossible. Most often chickens were raised for ritual use, among which cockfighting seems prominent. c) And lastly, we know that the chicken was all over the Pacific islands pre-contact. All the ritual uses are extremely close to those in America and Asia. So this definitely seems like the missing link that is usually disregarded. And if the chicken made it all the way to Easter Island pre-contact, it really strains the credulity that it could not have made the last "leap" to the American mainland, IMHO. There's just too much evidence on other grounds that there were links between America and Polynesia. Best regards, Yuri. Yuri Kuchinsky | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there -=- | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient in Toronto | and the most modern serpents." F. Nietzsche ----- my webpage is for now at: http://www.io.org/~yuku ----- _________________________________________________________________Click here to go one level up in the directory.