Quick, what’s the most important animal ever domesticated by humans? Cows! No, wait, horses? Or llamas? Oh, of course, the dog.
Nope, those are all wrong. The most important domesticated animal is the chicken.
If you have the right skills, you can be a part of a major new effort to understand human-chicken interactions from prehistory to the present. A British-based research team is looking for help. Not just one or two positions, but three full-time jobs. Ph.D. required. Haven’t written a dissertation yet, but aspire to be a chicken researcher? There are several studentships available, too.
From one of the job announcements:
This collaborative project between eight researchers at the Universities of Bournemouth, Leicester, Nottingham, York, Roehampton and Durham, will explore the natural and cultural history of chickens, the most globally ubiquitous domestic animal.
To elucidate the circumstances and meaning of the westward spread of chickens from their origins in Southeast Asia to Europe and the Americas (from the late prehistoric period to the present), our multi-disciplinary team of archaeologists, anthropologists, geneticists, and zooarchaeologists will integrate the evidence from across their fields to address the following questions:
1) When, how and why did domestication and the early husbandry of chicken take place?
2) How rapidly did chickens spread into different parts of Europe and how was this diffusion linked to population movements, trade or cultural changes?
3) When did poultry and egg production emerge and how intensively were chickens exploited for these products in different regions and periods?
4) When and where did modern chicken breeds develop?
5) How have chickens changed society and culture in antiquity and in modern times?
6) Can evidence from the past be used to transform modern practices of chicken management?
Learn more about this endeavor at the Chicken Co-op.
For the job announcements, go here and search for “chicken”.