Apologies for the delayed response. I hope that everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a terrific holiday! I know that I enjoyed lots of delicious turkey… And speaking of, here are some random factoids about turkeys! 😉
Turkeys belong to the order Galliformes (ground dwelling / game birds), which also includes pheasants, grouse, guinea fowl, chickens, quail, etc. True turkeys probably arose around 10 million years ago, give or take — although turkey-like birds arose around 20 mya. Lucky for me, fossils of the modern turkey (Meleagris sp.) can be found in my new home state of Kansas! There are a variety of subspecies of turkey, several of which are now extinct such as Meleagris californica – the California turkey. The California turkey went extinct about 10,000 years ago and fossils of M. californica are the second most abundant at the La Brea Tar Pits (cool!!). As you might imagine, based on the zooarchaeological record, there is quite a lot of knowledge about the various turkey subspecies that have served as food sources for humans over time. If you find yourself interested in the taphonomy and preservation potential of bones of game birds, I recommend reading Dirrigl’s 2001 paper that examines bone mineral density in M. gallopavo and makes connections to differential survivorship of bird bones in the zooarchaeological (and potentially, fossil) record. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440300906009
And, for fun, here is an article discussing how scientists studying biomechanics are putting turkeys on treadmills to examine bipedal bone structure: https://massivesci.com/articles/turkey-treadmill-ancient-humans-walk/
I’m looking forward to the webinar on Wednesday! It might be too late to make this request, but I’d like to learn about the fossil records of carrots and of turnips. Why? Carrots and turnips is a traditional Northeastern dish that my husband’s family makes (they’re from Massachusetts).
Or maybe @sellis could send out a short email blast via MailChimp when webinar dates change?? I’m not sure if the social media team (@llundgren, @sadie-mills, @michael-le, @mackenzie-smith) might want to make Facebook “events” for the webinars? We use FB to promote events for the KU Natural History Museum and it seems to generate quite a bit of traffic for us.