|Smithsonian.com Tim O'Brien|
Here is a recap of some of the highlights of the article:
- According to archaeologists, chickens were first domesticated for cockfighting, not eating.
- The chicken has inspired culture, art, cuisine, science and religion for over 1,000 years.
- The hen is a symbol of nurturance and fertility.
- Eggs hung in Egyptian temples were supposed to insure a "bountiful river flood."
- The rooster is a sign of virility and is considered to be a heralder of the turning point
between darkness and light. (See Chicken Women's former post, Harbingers of the Sun).
- Chickens accompanied Roman troops during wartime and were considered fortunetellers.
A chicken's good appetite before battle foretold a likely victory.
- Pope Nicholas I decreed that a rooster figure should be placed on every church roof as a
reminder of Peter denying Jesus "before the cock crows." That's why many churches have
rooster-shaped weather vanes on their roofs.
- An artistic rendering in a first century A.D. mosaic in a house in Pompeii depicts a
- The chicken came from the Gallus gallus or Red Junglefowl, as theorized by Charles
Darwin and recently proven by DNA analysis.
- In 2004, the complete genome of the chicken was mapped by international geneticists.
- The chicken was the first domesticated animal, first bird, and first descendant of the
dinosaur. It probably began in the Indus Valley. (See Chicken Women's former
post, The Distinction of Extinction.)
- Egyptians mastered the art of artificial chicken incubation.
- Chickens were a Roman delicacy, including mashed chicken brains.
- A Roman law in 161B.C. limited chicken consumption to one (1) per day.
- Roman cooks discovered that castrated roosters became fat--thus, the capon.
- European chicken status collapsed with the fall of the Roman Empire.
- Some archaeologists believe that Polynesians brought chickens to the Pacific coast of the
- Greenfire Farms in Florida sells very exotic and heritage breeds.
- Since 1987 when Kentucky Fried Chicken opened the first KFC in Beijing, 3,000 KFC's
have been founded in China. KFC is now more profitable in China than the United States.
All these yummy facts are making me hungry, for eggs that is, not chicken. Although after looking at the Greenfire Farms website, I may just have to order another chick or two.