Turkeys are relative newcomers to domestication. Wild turkeys range from southern Canada to Mexico, but their domestication occurred in northern Mexico around 2000 years ago. It’s possible that a second domestication event occurred in the southwest United States as well. In any case, Spanish explorers found domesticated turkeys among the Aztecs and Pueblo people. Some of these birds were returned to Europe, where the domesticated breeds spread. Archeologists trying to discover the origin and extent of domestication refer to turkey pens, turkey bones with healed injuries, and significant deposits of turkey egg shells, all signs that animals have been raised and cared for by humans.
More plump than their wild cousins, domestic turkeys nonetheless share similar features, and are in fact considered the same species. Turkeys are distinguishable by the lengthy snood that grows off their nose and the voluminous wattle that springs from their neck.
Scientific Name: Meleagris gallapavo
Characteristics: This domestic turkey displays all of its assets, including a widely fanned tail and bright red snood and wattle. It’s completely characteristic of a full-grown male turkey.
Size and Color: With its tail feather extended and head held high, this brilliantly colored turkey stands 3 inches tall and 2 ¼ inches long, about the size of a medium muffin. The color palate is extensive for maximum realism.
The Turkey is part of the Safari Farm collection.
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