Skip to main content

Nature Communications: Archaeological and molecular evidence for ancient chickens in Central Asia

By April 3, 2024No Comments


Journal link:

The origins and dispersal of the chicken across the ancient world remains one of the most enigmatic questions regarding Eurasian domesticated animals. The lack of agreement concerning timing and centers of origin is due to issues with morphological identifications, a lack of direct dating, and poor preservation of thin, brittle bird bones. Here we show that chickens were widely raised across southern Central Asia from the fourth century BC through medieval periods, likely dispersing along the ancient Silk Road. We present archaeological and molecular evidence for the raising of chickens for egg production, based on material from 12 different archaeological sites spanning a millennium and a half. These eggshells were recovered in high abundance at all of these sites, suggesting that chickens may have been an important part of the overall diet and that chickens may have lost seasonal egg-laying

Get in touch


Barbara Huber on Twitter/X