This evidence has implications for debates about ancient Polynesian voyaging capabilities as well as those addressing prehistoric population interactions and exchange. P., where they are associated with Lapita sites (9, 10), in Niue (11) from ≈2000 B. and in early occupation layers throughout most of East Polynesia (8).
This study also presents the first published ancient DNA sequences for chickens providing valuable data for researchers concerned with the loss of genetic variation in modern domestic stocks (7). P., the settlement of East Polynesia began, probably from Samoa, with colonization of Hawai'i by 1000 B. Some prehistoric contact between the Americas and Polynesia is evident from the presence of South American sweet potato () in pre-European archaeological sites in Polynesia (6, 12, 13), most notably from Mangaia, Cook Islands, where it is dated indirectly to ≈AD 1000 (13).
We present a radiocarbon date and an ancient DNA sequence from a single chicken bone recovered from the archaeological site of El Arenal-1, on the Arauco Peninsula, Chile.
It wouldn't be easy, but archaeology rarely is, particularly in the Amazon.
To reach the site, she and her crew will travel by single-engine plane to a small jungle airstrip.
These results not only provide firm evidence for the pre-Columbian introduction of chickens to the Americas, but strongly suggest that it was a Polynesian introduction. Despite claims that it might be native to the region (1), it has never been recovered or reported from paleontological, Paleo-Indian, or, until now, prehistoric archaeological contexts in the Americas.
A Portuguese or Spanish introduction to the east coast of South America around AD 1500 has been suggested (2), but when Pizarro reached Peru in 1532, he found that chickens were already an integral part of Incan economy and culture, suggesting at least some history of chickens in the region.
After all, what civilization could have emerged in such harsh subsistence conditions? Archeologist Anna Curtenius Roosevelt — a great-granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt and a winner of the Mac Arthur “genius” award — is a professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.