Using chickens to track human migration in the Pacific


Chicken bones tell true story of Pacific migration
[Via Eureka! Science News – Popular science news]

Did the Polynesians beat Columbus to South America? Not according to the tale of migration uncovered by analysis of ancient DNA from chicken bones recovered in archaeological digs across the Pacific.


Cool. They found a specific genetic marker for the chickens that the Polynesians took from island to island. One not found in European populations.

So they were able to show that chicken bones found in South American were derived from European chickens and not those of  Pacific Islanders.

But the coolest thing is that some populations of chickens on isolated Pacific Islands maintain the Polynesian marker, not the European one.

So this diversity might be used to help our current breeds which suffer from too much in-breeeding.