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Geneticists identify a chicken breed that is indigenous to the Americas

Geneticists identify a chicken breed that is indigenous to the Americas

It turns out that a chicken breed, which is popular among farmsteaders, and probably one of the ancestors of the hybrid chickens used in modern factory farms, is itself a hybrid indigenous chicken, intentionally crossbred by the Mapooche People of South America. The Araucana Chicken has NO Polynesian ancestors.

There are extremely early eyewitness descriptions (1521 & 1564) of domestic chickens being raised by Natives in the Coastal Plains of Georgia and South Carolina.  Until this morning, like all other researchers, I ignored these statements as being the poppycock of delusional Spaniards and Frenchmen, suffering from acute dehydration or perhaps, Montezuma’s Revenge. Apparently, these Europeans really did see chickens in Native villages.

The Araucana had already been selectively bred into a dizzying array colors, when first seen by the Spanish in the 1500s.

The Araucana had already been selectively bred into a dizzying array of colors, including pure white, when first seen by the Spanish. Unlike European chickens, the eggs of Araucana chickens can be a wide range of colors.  They are commonly called the Easter Egg Chickens.

Go back and read any of the popular books on the indigenous peoples of the Americas, written by Anthropology professors in the past 30 years.  They all agree with Dr. Charles Hudson, who wrote The Southeastern Indians.  The indigenous people of North America only raised one domesticated animal for meat, a hairless dog. These references go on to say that wild turkeys and ducks were hunted by Southeastern Natives, but they did not keep them as livestock, until obtained from white settlers.  It is a widely respected fact that Native Americans had never seen a chicken until Spanish missionaries introduced them to the Georgia Coast.  

Hudson also stated that Native Americans did not know about honey until the Eurasian honey bee was imported by Europeans.  Hudson’s and many other anthropology books state that the sweet potato was first imported by South Carolina planters to feed slaves.  They also state that Southeastern Indians did not know how cultivate fruit trees and fruit plants, even though the De Soto Chronicles and several other eyewitness 16th century documents described fruit orchards, plus cultivated strawberry, blueberry, mulberry and elderberry fields, kept free of pests by domesticated turkeys.

Most of the these orthodoxies, which are still being taught to Southeastern anthropology students are inexplicable.  Hudson wrote books on the De Soto and Pardo Expeditions.  The De Soto Chronicles specifically state that the people of Chiaha raised domesticated honey bees and ate honey. The more detailed accounts of Georgia’s and South Carolina’s Natives by  Captain René de Laudonnière and Charles de Rochefort describe widespread consumption of honey in the regions occupied by Itsate Creeks (descendants of Itza Mayas).  The Mayas domesticated an indigenous honey bee.

The report by Notaria Juan dela Bandera on the Pardo Expedition specifically mentioned a village in South Carolina, named Aho, which specialized in the cultivation of sweet potatoes.   Aho is the Creek and Southern Arawak word for sweet potato.  Apparently, no one in the anthropology profession ever thought of picking up a Creek dictionary to translate town names. Aho is spelled ajo in Spanish, but is pronounced the same.

Thank goodness that geneticists and forensic biologists today do not feel bound to replicate the lectures of their professors and bitterly fight anyone, who has a new concept about the past.  Over a decade ago, they proved that virtually all cultivated strawberries in the world are descended from a hybrid strawberry developed and cultivated by the Muskogean peoples of the Southeast, long before Columbus’s voyage.

In 2015,  geneticists proved that many of the turkey bones that archaeologists were indifferently placing into plastic bags at Sun Belt archaeological sites belonged to domesticated turkeys, not turkeys killed in the wild. Wildlife biologists are still trying to figure out why there are flocks of golden plumed turkeys in the Georgia Mountains.  They should be only be living in the mountains of Southern Mexico.  The Golden Turkeys are incredibly beautiful animals that perhaps should be protected from hunters until geneticists can study them.

Until recently, virtually no one ever thought of the chicken being domesticated in the New World, because all references stated that all chicken breeds were descended from the wild Jungle Fowl of Southeast Asia.  Chicken breeders have always said that there was an indigenous chicken, but anthropologists said that was impossible, so its existence was left out of textbooks and archaeological references.  When archaeologists found chicken bones in Native American village sites along the South Atlantic Coast and Chattahoochee River, they automatically dated the sites to the 1700s. Boy are they in for a surprise!

How humdrum etymological research stumbled upon a geneticist’s astounding discovery

The research work that I do is entirely supported by a private professional client and the unsolicited donations of Creek descendants and a retired Architectural History professor.  For this I am very grateful.  Thank you for your support.  Like any good architect-planner, I am merely drawing lines between dots . . . but they are producing some fascinating pictures.

I have been paddling digitally down the Chattahoochee River all of 2016.  Right now I am analyzing all available information on the town sites of the Lower Chattahoochee River.  Early this morning, I was trying to develop more information about the Totolose Creeks.  Their villages were located in the vicinity of Georgetown, GA across the Chattahoochee from Eufaula, AL and on Fowltown Creek, northwest of Albany, GA .  The names of most of the towns and villages in this region can be found on the Georgia Coast in the 1500s. Totolose means “Descendants of Totolo.”  The mother town of Totolo was visited by Frenchmen from Fort Caroline in 1564 and 1565. 

araucana-chicken-3The Totolose were known for raising large flocks of chickens.  Totolose came to be the Hitchiti Creek word for chicken.  A word similar to Totolo is also used by several peoples on the eastern side of the Andes and Amazon Basin for chicken.  That is strange.  Typically, the people of Eastern Peru use a word similar to the Spanish word . . . in this case, pollo . . . for an animal introduced by the Spanish.  In all other cases. where the Creeks borrowed a word from Eastern Peru,  it was for a plant or political position that dated back to the Woodland Period (1000 BC – 900 AD).   If the chicken was introduced to the Americas by Europeans in the 1500s and 1600s, as almost all references state,  why would languages in both North and South America have an “old” word for chicken?

araucana-4Google searching eventually led to a shock.  There WERE domesticated chickens in the Americas, when the first Europeans arrived.  The reason that we were told otherwise for the past century was that North American anthropologists assumed that it was impossible for a chicken to be separately developed in the New World, so the existence of the Araucana chicken was not allowed in English-language anthropological texts or any general access references. 

I found that they were labeled an indigenous domesticated animal in Spanish language archaeological references from Peru and Chile . . . but how would they know?   The Araucana is endemic in their lands.  Actually, it is becoming an increasingly popular chicken for farmers in many parts of the world.  However, from the perspective of Gringo anthropologists, to say that the Araucana was indigenous was tantamount to heresy and pseudo-archaeology.

It was those die-hard Kon Tiki believers that punched a hole in the dam of orthodoxy.  They were trying to prove that Polynesians settled in Peru and sparked Andean civilizations.  Chicken bones have been found on camp sites along the Pacific coast of South America.  If you recall, these chicken bones were labeled refuse from Polynesian explorers, because there was no domesticated chickens in the Americas until the Spanish arrived.   Are you beginning to see how absolutely weird the current situation in archaeology is?   A legion of professional papers, TV documentaries and websites were launched concerning the Polynesian exploration of the Americas because the anthropology profession had been hugely successful in censoring public knowledge of the Araucana Chicken . . . from everybody except chicken breeders.

The Kon-tiki Believers came up with the funds to support genetic analysis of the Araucana Chicken . . . thinking that it would prove once and for all that Polynesians founded the Andean civilizations.  In 2007, a team of scientists at the University of Michigan analyzed what appeared to be samples of DNA from a Pre-Columbian chicken and six post-conquest 16th century chickens in Peru.  They were found to be not related to chickens found on Easter Island and Fiji. The chickens in Peru were descended from ancient Indo-European chickens or perhaps those of Southeast Asia. 

Araucana chickens were about 20-25% larger than the chickens being grown in Spain at the time of the Spanish Conquest.  They also lay eggs in a variety of colors that are completely unknown among European varieties of chickens.  Both these traits are strong arguments that they were not the offspring of chickens imported from Europe. 

Thus, the famous chicken bones found in the seaside cave in Peru turned out to be merely the garbage from indigenous Americans having a picnic after visiting the local KFC.   Polynesians may have not visited Peru at all, but there are indigenous peoples in Baja California and Catalina Islands of California, who definitely were Polynesians or Southeast Asians.

The anthropology profession in the United States was only told in brief news articles that the Kon-tiki Believers were wrong.  Gringo archaeologists gloated because their orthodoxy was proved correct.  Actually, it wasn’t.  The genetic connection to Indo-European and Southeast Asian chickens was ancient . . . like the connection between wild horses of today in Siberia and the extinct horses in North America of 12,000 years ago.

The new genetic information on the Araucana Chicken also suggests that the Araucana was used to improve European chicken breeds.   Some South American tribes were raising white chickens when Spanish Conquistadors first encountered them.  White chickens are not shown in any Medieval European paintings.  The Leghorn Chicken of Italy, which is the parent stock of most commercial chicken breeds in the United States today, first appeared in the early 1800s.  The Leghorn is substantially larger than earlier European chicken breeds, but still somewhat smaller than the Araucana.  However, it only produces white or brown eggs.  This raises the possibility that indigenous South American chickens were selectively bred to Italian chicken breeds to eliminate the green, blue and dark brown eggs typical of the South American varieties.  The brown eggs, laid by some North American hens, may represented a retro-mutation back to South American genes.

araucana-chicken-whiteRecently the Instituto de Investigación Científica de Arqueología Peruana issued the following statement:

There were already indigenous chickens in South America that were integral parts of the lives of the Native Peoples of Peru, when Francisco Pizarro first arrived in 1532. Chickens made up a large part of the local Inca diet, and were featured heavily in ancient Inca legends and rituals.  The Araucan chicken is the result of cross breeding two indigenous fowls in South America, the Colloncas and the Quetero.  There is no doubt that chickens encountered by the Spanish in Peru were selectively bred by the indigenous peoples of Chile and Peru, hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans.

The Colloncas is a naturally blue-egg laying, rumpless, clean-faced chicken.  The Quetero is a pinkish-brown egg layer that has a long tail and prominent ear-tufts.  It resembles the now extinct Heath Grouse of the Atlantic Coast of North America.

The males of the Quetero have loud musical voices. The Colloncas male and female are very similar, with very few secondary sexual characteristics like comb, wattles or tail coverts to distinguish them.  The sounds made by both breeds are generally different than Old World breeds of chickens.

Chickens on the South Atlantic Coast

No one has studied the chicken bones found at Native American sites on the South Atlantic coast.  It is highly likely that these bones were tossed aside and not genetically tested, since it was assumed that they were from chickens, introduced by Spanish friars.  The Native American town Totolo during the 1500s was near the Province of the Alecmani.  According to French colonists at Fort Caroline, the Alecmani specialized in growing medicinal plants, especially the cinchona tree . . . which in native to the lower elevations of the Andes Region, where also the Araucana chicken was endemic.  If a band of immigrants could bring the roots of cinchona bushes 3000 miles to the mouth of the Altamaha River, a neighboring band could have brought chickens to what is now the Southeastern United States.

This leads us to another conclusion . . . the chronicles of the De Soto, Pardo and French Huguenot expeditions in the 1500s described many towns and even provinces, which specialized in the mass production of single commodities that were traded long distances to obtain commodities for their locale.  The French stated that wars were fought between provinces over trade routes because many provinces levied tariffs on bulk goods passing through their domain.  

Orthodox anthropology teaches us today that the Southeast was composed of unstable chiefdoms that were self-sufficient for most of their needs.  Trade only consisted of the sporadic exchange of prestige goods.  Sounds like orthodoxy got it all wrong and the indigenous societies of the Southeast were far more sophisticated, economically, than assumed in the hallowed halls of Dixie’s academicians.

Learn something every day!




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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    check out Mexican Black Chikens

    • Yes! They are identical to the black variety of indigenous chickens in South America.


    Does this mean chickens aren’t proof that the Duhare were Europeans anymore?

    • No . . . the neighbors of the people in Duhare also had chickens. I asked professors at Trinity College in Dublin to translate all the Duhare words in the passage about them. They said that all the words, including Duhare were Early Medieval Irish. A couple of uneducated Spanish slave raiders could had never made up Early Medieval Irish words.


    Richard, some statements by Desoto’s men that does indicate the Natives of the South did domesticate animals by the 1500’s. Also I noted, that the natives of that time period did not use the same names for the different regions as the Apalache people of the 1600’s… indicated by Mr. Brigstock’s statements? Just some 150 years later from the time of Desoto.
    “they arrived at the province of Chisi and crossed a branch of a large river, very broad, some of it on foot, and even a good part of it swimming, and they attacked a town that was on an island in this river, where they captured some people and found food. And because the place was dangerous, before canoes came they went back the same way they had entered, but first they had for lunch some “hens of the land, which are called “guanajas”, and loins of venison that they found roasted on a barbacoa,”
    “On April 4, the governor passed through a town, by name, Altamaca, and on the tenth day of the month reached Ocute. The cacique sent him two thousand Indians bearing gifts, namely, many “rabbits”, partridges, maize bread, “two hens”, and many dogs, which are esteemed among the Christians as if they were fat sheep because there was a great lack of meat and salt.”
    “Wednesday, the thirteenth of May, the Governor left from Cofitachequi, and in two days he arrived at the province of Chalaque; but he could not find the town of the lord, nor was there an Indian who would disclose it…and on Tuesday they went to Guaquili, and the Indians came forth in peace and gave them corn, although little, and “many hens roasted on barbacoa”, and a few little dogs, which are good food.”

    • There you go Mark! These professors wrote the book, The De Soto Chronicles, and then ignored what the Chronicles said. Thank you for pointing that out.


    My Aunt “Babe” had grey chickens that bore colored eggs! Who new? Thanks again for a most informative article!

    • That’s right! Gray is one of the most common colors of the indigenous American chicken!


    we raised auracaunas. i prefer them to the others we tried, wyandotte and rhode island red and a few others. better temperament, surprisingly cold hardy.


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