Researchers find earliest evidence of turkey domestication in Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--New research published in the Journal of Archaeological Science states Tennessee is home to the earliest evidence of turkey domestication.
Dr. Tanya M. Peres and grad student Kelly Ledford of Florida State University found remains of cultivated turkeys at what is called the Fewkes Group Archaeological Site located in Brentwood, Tennessee. There, they found evidence Native Americans were managing and raising turkeys between 1250-1450 AD. Researchers say typically, females outnumber males in flocks but they found the site showed more males than females, indicating possible domestication.
Researchers say the Native Americans used the turkeys for both feathers and meat since a majority of males were allowed to reach maturity and some were very large in size. They were much larger than average wild turkeys found today, meaning they were possibly fed diets of corn and purposefully cared for. The turkeys were also likely used in burial rituals and researchers add it's possible Native Americans avoided killing the females during egg-laying periods, further indicating they managed the flocks.
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