Tracking the true tale of turkeys

June 11, 2010

The turkey dinner is a staple part of Christmas Day, but new research at the University of Leicester reveals that the history of the much loved poultry is in fact rather varied and unexpected.

Brooklynne Fothergill, from the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, has found that the turkey was not always used as a meat product. It was initially domesticated as a source of feathers, as well as being used for symbolic purposes by the indigenous peoples of North America.

Brooklynne Fothergill's research investigates the archaeology and history of the turkey through the interpretation of signs of disease present in turkey bones from archaeological sites. She also uses archival sources in order to place the turkey and human populations within the appropriate social and historical contexts. Her study spans a period of 1,000 years, from c. 750 to 1750, and identifies long-term patterns of disease and injury in the species and examines changes over time in animal husbandry practices.

The results of the study will be used to explore research questions concerning the health of turkey populations and the connections between the health of and human behaviour.

Brooklynne commented:

"My project will be the first systematic analysis of signs of disease and injury in a North American species, and the first to explore the socio-economic context and health impact of the transatlantic movement of animals."

Explore further: WSU research biologist says only matter of time before avian flu virus reaches U.S.

Related Stories

New safety recommendations set for turkey cooking

November 29, 2006

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has updated poultry cooking recommendations this year, including the recommendation that the bird be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, said Lynn Paul, ...

Ian's frozen turkey products recalled

August 15, 2007

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the voluntary recall of approximately 12,894 pounds of Ian's frozen turkey products due to mislabeling.

Turkish health workers condone wife beating

December 13, 2007

Domestic violence is an inherent problem in Turkey, and healthcare workers are doing little to combat the prevalence of wife beating, according to research published in the online open access journal, BMC Public Health. ...

Modern Turkey: Modern Miracle

November 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many of us will sit down with our families to a wonderful turkey dinner this Thanksgiving. But statistics increasingly show that Americans consider turkey a year-round staple.

Turkeys domesticated not once, but twice

February 8, 2010

Turkeys, the only domesticated animals from the New World that are now used globally, were actually domesticated twice -- once in Mesoamerica as was previously believed and once in what is now the southwestern United States.

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.