An international team of scientists said humans in New Guinea may have collected eggs from cassowaries close to maturity and then raised their birds as early as 18,000 years ago.

The team, Mirage News reported, used eggshells to determine the prehistoric embryos' developmental phase or chicks when the eggs cracked.

According to Kristina Douglass, assistant professor of anthropology and African studies, Penn State, such a behavior "that we're seeing is coming" thousands of years before the chicken's domestication.

She added this is some tiny fowl as it is a large, bad-tempered, flightless bird that can eviscerate an individual. Most possible, the assistant professor continued, the dwarf variety that weighs 44 pounds.

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Science Times - Humans in New Guinea May Have Hatched, Raised Cassowaries 18,000 Years Ago
(Photo: Robert J Tidey on Wikimedia Commons)
One-month-old Cassowary chick


The research findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the data presented in the study might denote the earliest sign of human management of the avian taxon's breeding anywhere worldwide, preceding the chicken and geese's early domestication by several millennia.

As described in the study, Cassowaries are not chickens. They are, in fact, bearing more similarity to velociraptors compared to most domesticated birds.

Nevertheless, the researchers reported that cassowary chicks are imprinted readily to humans and are easy to maintain and raise to adulthood.

Inscription occurs when a newly hatched bird decides that the first thing it sees is its mother. If that initial glance happens to catch sight of a human, the said bird species will follow the former anywhere he goes.

Commenting on their work, the study authors said cassowaries are still traded in New Guinea as a commodity.

New Guinea People Either, Into Eating 'Baluts' or Hatching Chicks

The team turned to legacy eggshell collections from two New Guinea sites, particularly Yuku and Kiowa. A similar report said that they applied their approach to over 1,000 fragments of these eggs, aged 18,000 to 6,000 years old, a similar report said.

What the researchers found, explained Douglass, was that the eggshells' large majority were harvested during the last stages.

She also said the eggshells look very late, and the pattern is not random. People from New Guinea, she continued, were either into eating "baluts" or hatching chicks.

The so-called "balut" is an almost developed embryo chick typically boiled and eaten as street food in some portions of Asia, particularly in the Philippines, as described in the Journal of Ethnic Foods.

No Sign of Capturing For Cassowary Chicks

As specified in this report, the original archeologists did not find any sign of capturing for the cassowary chicks. The bones of cassowaries found at sites are only those of the meaty parts, particularly the thigh and leg, suggesting these were captured birds, processed in the wild, and just the meatiest portions got hauled home.

The few cassowary bones found at sites are only those of the meaty portions - leg and thigh - suggesting these were hunted birds, processed in the wild, and only the meatiest parts got dragged home.

According to Douglass, they also looked at burning on the eggshells. There are adequate samples of late-stage shells that don't exhibit burning that they can say they were hatching instead of eating them.

To hatch and raise cassowaries successfully, the people should know where the nests were, find out when the eggs were laid, and take them out from the nest just before they were hatched.

She also said, back in the late Pleistocene, humans were intentionally collecting these said eggs, and this research suggests that people were not just harvesting eggs to eat their contents but also raising their chicks.

Related information about cassowaries is shown on Rumble Viral's YouTube video:


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