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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Chickens Were Domesticated For Their Eggs: Study

A team of archaeologists and biologists has found the earliest evidence of chickens raised specifically for their eggs, some dating from as early as 400 BCE in Central Asia.


Scientists argue that at least as early as about 2,500 years ago, the domesticated chicken had lost the seasonal egg-laying seen in its wild counterpart.



The scientists argue that at least as early as about 2,500 years ago, the domesticated chicken had lost the seasonal egg-laying seen in its wild counterpart. The steady supply of eggs day in and day out would have been extremely appealing to the ancients, Tibi Puiu reported for ZME Science.



“In addition to tracing out the process of dispersal for one of the most numerous animals on the planet today, we show when people started raising the birds for their eggs instead of meat, sport, or ornamentation. Once the chicken spread along the trans-Eurasian exchange routes that we colloquially call the Silk Road, it went on to become one of the most economically significant animals of all time,” Dr. Robert Spengler, leader of the Domestication and Anthropogenic Evolution research group and principal investigator on the study, told ZME Science.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

The chicken descended from the Southeast Asian Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus). Some scientists have suggested that the first chickens appeared more than 6,000 years ago, while others claim that archaeological evidence points to a domestication event in China 10,000 years ago.


However, these claims are likely hyperbolic.


Market & economy: Market economist in suit and tie reading reports and analysing charts in the office located in the financial district.

A 2022 study by Julia Best at Cardiff University used radiocarbon dating on a set of chicken bones from archaeological sites across Europe and northwest Africa and found most of them were much younger.


In one case, one bone from Bulgaria that was supposed to be 7,500 years old was dated between 1959 and 1985.


Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

The study also concluded that chickens didn’t arrive in Europe until the first millennium BCE.


A 2022 study co-authored by Ophélie Lebrasseur at the Center for Anthropobiology and Genomics in Toulouse, France claims to have found the earliest “unambiguous” evidence of domestic chickens. The roughly 3,500-year-old chicken bones were found at a site called Ban Non Wat in central Thailand.




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