No Polynesian origin for pre-Columbian chickens???

By Razib Khan | July 29, 2008 5:51 pm

Indo-European and Asian origins for Chilean and Pacific chickens revealed by mtDNA:

European chickens were introduced into the American continents by the Spanish after their arrival in the 15th century. However, there is ongoing debate as to the presence of pre-Columbian chickens among Amerindians in South America, particularly in relation to Chilean breeds such as the Araucana and Passion Fowl…The modern Chilean sequences cluster closely with haplotypes predominantly distributed among European, Indian subcontinental, and Southeast Asian chickens, consistent with a European genetic origin. A published, apparently pre-Columbian, Chilean specimen and six pre-European Polynesian specimens also cluster with the same European/Indian subcontinental/Southeast Asian sequences, providing no support for a Polynesian introduction of chickens to South America….

  • David Lee

    And here I’d read that the Chinese had introduced chickens to the Americas when they explored the globe before Columbus got around to it.

  • megan

    neat, i haven’t heard of P.C. Chickens in S. Am. before. But I think they should have taken more than one radio-carbon sample, just to confirm their date. It seems odd they’d have to use TL on pottery – if you’ve got preserved chicken bone you should have some other preserved faunal or macrobotanical remains. Still, those DNA results are interesting.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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