The Araucana is a breed of chicken originating in the Araucana region of Chile, although the fancy modern varieties are the work of chicken breeders in the United States.
Araucana chickens are notable for three things. One, some varieties of the Araucana have ear tufts that make them look a little like the American Civil War Genera; Ambrose Burnside, for whom sideburns were named. Two, these chickens lay eggs in various shades of blue. A variety developed from the Araucana is called Easter Eggers, which lay eggs in several colors, including shades of blue and green.
Three, is that the Araucana came across the Pacific to South America, long before Columbus landed in the Caribbean and brought European chickens on his second voyage.
Since chickens are not native to the Americas, that would mean the birds were brought to South America by people sailing from the west, possibly people from East Asia or most likely, sailing from Polynesia. It’s looking more and more like Polynesians ‘discovered’ America maybe centuries before the Spanish did.
There’s no definite evidence of this, but the sweet potato that originated in South America had been found in the Cook Island and radiocarbon dated to about the year 1000 CE. Much more recently, DNA from a South American people has been found in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) as well as much further into Polynesia, and dated to about 1150 CE.
It’s looking more and more like the history of South America that had been long accepted could be turned on its head. That’s a lot of history for a chicken with sideburns that lays blue eggs.
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