A Tale of Tongan Chickens

Author(s): Lisa Matisoo-Smith; Anna Gosling; David Burley

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Lapita peoples transported a number of animal species in their colonizing canoes as they settled the islands of the Pacific. Included among the domesticated animals introduced by Lapita peoples were chickens (Gallus gallus). Later, Polynesians also transported chickens as they settled many of the islands of the Polynesian Triangle. The discovery of pre-Columbian archaeological chicken bones recovered from the site of El Arenal, on the south-central coast of Chile, has been the topic of significant debate. Ancient DNA and isotope data of these remains indicate that chickens were likely introduced by Polynesian voyagers and thus provide clear evidence of pre-Columbian Polynesian contact with South America. It has been suggested, however, that the DNA sequences obtained may have been the result of modern chicken DNA contamination in laboratory reagents. Recently obtained complete mitogenome data from early Tongan chicken bones will be presented and discussed in terms of debates regarding the origins and the timing of Pacific chicken introductions and evidence of prehistoric Polynesian contact with South America.

Cite this Record

A Tale of Tongan Chickens. Lisa Matisoo-Smith, Anna Gosling, David Burley. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450231)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: 117.598; min lat: -29.229 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 53.12 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24081