ScienceAll hail the hen! Chickens were revered for centuries...

All hail the hen! Chickens were revered for centuries before they were food


Chickens’ first relationship with humans may not have been as a platter of wings or a pair of tasty drumsticks. Researchers have found that people initially saw these now-ubiquitous birds as exotic, and they venerated and even worshiped them.

These first domesticated chickens weren’t the hefty, fast-growing birds of today. They would have been about one-third the size of modern chickens, and their striking coloration and distinctive noises likely led people to view them as mysterious and exciting novelties rather than as potential meals, according to a new study. In fact, approximately 500 years elapsed between the time when chickens first arrived in Europe, and the time when they began to be used widely for food. 



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