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 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...