Tracking the true tale of turkeys

Jun 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: Researchers create methylation maps of Neanderthals and Denisovans, compare them to modern humans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Turkeys domesticated not once, but twice

Feb 08, 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 ...

Ian's frozen turkey products recalled

Aug 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.

New safety recommendations set for turkey cooking

Nov 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, ...

Turkish health workers condone wife beating

Dec 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. A sur ...

Modern Turkey: Modern Miracle

Nov 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.

Recommended for you

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

Apr 17, 2014

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.