You need to order fried chicken – a go-to late-night food – before you read this book. The author explains the evolutionary history of a chicken. You may ask, why chicken? It’s because it is the only bird you can find as a whole piece in the meat section of a grocery store.
From the perspective of evolutionary biology, the origin of the chicken was the dinosaur – aggressive biped dinosaurs, such as tyrannosaurus or velociraptor, to be specific. With a muscular tail and heavy body, however, they couldn’t fly. The reptile, which originated from the dinosaur, evolved to fly over a long period of time.
In particular, the body of birds became lighter by removing unnecessary parts. For the parts unrelated to flying, only the minimum functions remained to reduce the effect of gravity. However, the tips of wings and tenderloin muscle became stronger for better propulsion.
The signs of the evolution for flying can also be found in the chicken. The most significant part is its breast muscle. Birds’ breast muscle accounts for 30 percent of their entire body, allowing them strong wing strokes. The reason why beef or pork breast is not sold separately is that their breast is not well developed as mammals.
The chicken’s feet also evolved to meet its needs. The chicken has three toes pointing forward and one big toe pointing backward, which makes it easier to hold onto a branch. It is one of the genetic traits that birds earned as they began to fly.
The book written by a well-known Japanese ornithologist is not limited to the evolution of birds. It also has fun facts about the chicken. The writer recommends meat on the bones of the chicken, which are used to make stock, especially muscle around the neck near its back. The chicken moves its neck a lot to pick up food off the ground, which increases the elasticity of the muscle and provides a deeper flavor as a result. How about ordering fried chicken tonight to find out?