Turkeys do vote for Christmas - official-ish
Sunday 20 December 1992
These challenging ideas come from Ray Carpenter, an American professor of biology, whose theories on evolution do not go down well with orthodox geneticists.
He argues that, while domestication means death for millions of British turkeys each year, it makes certain that the species survives and goes on getting fatter.
'If you want to test the success of a species you look to see if the population has increased over time. There are more pounds of turkey around today than ever.'
So turkeys voted for Christmas? Absolutely, says Professor Carpenter, from Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts. 'Humans didn't select the animals that became domesticated. They volunteered themselves.'
According to his theory, wild animals became domesticated when humans began to live in settlements and accumulate rubbish. This provided a ready food supply for the braver animals, giving them a selective advantage over those that took their chance in the wild. But it was essential that they offered humans something in return. Turkeys - unlike, say, horses - had little to offer. So, had they been too cowardly or too aggressive to volunteer for the carving knife, they would have been sent back to join the tigers in the forests - and look what happened to them.
Individual animals may have come to a sticky end but not before the next generation was ready for fattening. The species, therefore, flourished. 'So long as man is willing to ensure that the offspring survive, it is a positive advantage to turkeys to be eaten,' Professor Carpenter said.
The theory also applies to wild pigs and dogs. Dogs? 'Certainly. I know it is very unpopular, but dogs provided regular litters of puppies which were a valuable food supply and they provided their fur.'
All trussed up, page 19
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Comic Con 2014 attendees
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...