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Late Pleistocene humans may have hatched and raised chicks

Around 18,000 years ago, late Pleistocene humans may have already hatched and raised cassowary chicks, a type of bird, in New Guinea, a study that publishes suggests. Pnas, publication of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Those humans may have had and then raised the birds to adulthood, says the team of researchers, who studied the eggshells found in deposits to determine what stage of development the embryos were in.

One of the study authors Kristina Douglass from Pennsylvania State University (USA) highlighted that this behavior “It comes from thousands of years before the domestication of the hen.”

Cassowaries are large, flightless and “intractable” birds added by the expert, who estimates that it is most likely the dwarf variety of this animal, which weighs about 20 kilos.

The study, according to its authors, may represent “The first indication of human management of the breeding of an avian taxon anywhere in the world, preceding the and geese in several millennia ”.

Newborn cassowary chicks, as in other birds, believe that the first thing they see is their mother, so if that first glance coincides with that of a human being, the bird will follow it anywhere.

Eggshells are found in many archaeological sites, but they are rarely studied. In this case, the team developed a new method to

They then studied shell collections from the Yuku and Kiowa sites in New Guinea and applied the new technique to more than 1,000 egg fragments between 18,000 and 6,000 years old.

The vast majority of eggshells were collected during the very late stages of management, Douglass said, so there is no random pattern.

They were either eating balut (a nearly developed embryo that is boiled and consumed in some parts of Asia) or, he added.

The archaeologists looked at the burns on the eggshells, but there were “enough samples” that showed no burns, so “We can say that they were incubating and not eating them.”

Douglass stressed that to successfully hatch and raise cassowary chicks, people would have to know where the nests were, when the eggs were being laid, and

According to the expert, at the end of the Pleistocene, “Humans collected these eggs on purpose and this study suggests that people did not just collect the eggs to eat their contents.”

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