The consumption of broiler chicken is the most striking sign that the human race has now entered a new epoch.
In a new study published in the journal The Royal Society Publishing, scientists argued why the consumption of chicken is a prime example of how the human race is changing the biosphere.
The Age Of Chicken
Every year, humans consume an estimated 65 billion chickens. As a result, chickens have become the most populous birds in the world, with 23 billions of them existing at any given time. The second most numerous bird in the world is the red-billed quelea, which boasts of an estimated 1.5 billion-strong population.
In fact, the mass of the 23 billion chickens is far greater than that of all other birds in the world combined. That is partly because of the way they are being bred. Modern broiler chickens are far bigger and meatier compared to their ancestors during the Roman times.
They are bred to eat non-stop and grow to a certain size after only five to nine weeks. Even if they do not end up getting slaughtered, modern broiler chickens have very little chance of growing old; their bodies outgrow their organs. Many chickens die from heart or respiratory failure.
These changes happened due to human intervention. The scientists involved in the study compared the bones of modern broiler chickens to their ancestors dating back to the Roman times. They found that growth of chickens accelerated around the second half of the 20th Century. The birds put on five times the weight of chickens in the 50s.
Chicken Bones Will Be Left Behind
Billions of chicken are consumed around the world every year, which means that billions of bones are also discarded. Often, chicken bones end up in landfills where they are likely to eventually be fossilized.
Scientists believe that if humans do not survive into the future, the next dominant creatures might dig up and study chicken bones. Other remnants of the present will be technofossils like plastics and concrete that will not biodegrade forever.