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Learning Japanese from the news / Yayoi chickens may have mostly been male

Stay abreast of current events and learn Japanese at the same time through articles originally printed in The Yomiuri KODOMO Shimbun.

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弥生(やよい)時代(じだい)のニワトリ オスばっかり!今(いま)から1700年以(い)上(じょう)前(まえ)の弥(や)生(よい)時(じ)代(だい)、日(に)本(ほん)にいたニワトリはほとんどがオスだった!? オスだけが発(はっ)する「コケコッコー」という鳴(な)き声(ごえ)を楽(たの)しむため、輸(ゆ)入(にゅう)された可(か)能(のう)性(せい)があるそうです。

ニワトリは他(ほか)のキジ科(か)の仲(なか)間(ま)より足が太(ふと)く、オスの足の骨(ほね)に突(とっ)起(き)があるという特(とく)徴(ちょう)があります。北(ほっ)海(かい)道(どう)大学総(そう)合(ごう)博(はく)物(ぶつ)館(かん)の江(え)田(だ)真(まさ)毅(き)さんが、弥生時代の遺(い)跡(せき)から出てきた骨を調(しら)べたところ、ニワトリの可能性がある骨は全(ぜん)部(ぶ)で約(やく)20点(てん)。性(せい)別(べつ)が判(はん)定(てい)できた12点のうち、オスは11点、メスは1点だけでした。

ニワトリは、東(とう)南(なん)アジアや中(ちゅう)国(ごく)にいた野(や)生(せい)のキジ科の鳥(とり)が飼(か)い鳥になったものですが、どのように日本に来(き)たのかはっきりしていません。「鳴き方(かた)や形(かたち)が美(うつく)しいオスを中国から連(つ)れてきた可能性が考(かんが)えられる」と話(はな)す専(せん)門(もん)家(か)もいます。

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Most of the chickens in Japan during the Yayoi period more than 1,700 years ago could have been male. It is possible they were brought to Japan due to the pleasant “cook-a-doodle-doo” crowing sound only males produce.

Chicken leg bones are characteristically thick, compared to other birds in the Phasianidae family, and male chicken leg bones have spurs.

Masaki Eda of the Hokkaido University Museum researched bones unearthed from a Yayoi period site. The gender of 12 bones out of about 20 that could be from chickens were identified: 11 were male, and only one was female.

Chickens originate from a species of wild bird belonging to the Phasianidae that inhabited Southeast Asia and China. They then came to be domesticated by humans. It is not clear how they got to Japan.

An expert said it is possible that males with beautiful shapes and crowing sounds were brought from China.

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鳴(な)き声(ごえ):crowing sound

キジ科(か):Phasianidae family

突(とっ)起(き):spur

弥(や)生(よい)時(じ)代(だい)の遺(い)跡(せき): Yayoi period site

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1月26日付読売 KODOMO 新聞に掲載された記事の翻訳です

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