The origin story of domesticated rabbits may be all wrong

Popular Science | 2/15/2018 | Staff
Zorra (Posted by) Level 4
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For decades, it’s been common knowledge that French monks domesticated the rabbit in 600 AD. At the time, then-Pope Gregory had decreed that fetal rabbits were safe for Christians to eat during lent, because (somehow) they technically weren’t meat. So the monks started keeping them around, and after millenia of selective breeding and domestication, they eventually became the fluffy bunnies that hop around our houses today.

It’s a great story, but it actually might not be true. A new study makes the case that Pope Gregory never made any such proclamation—and that rabbit domestication was much more than this single, narrative moment in history.

Greger - Larson - Biologist - University - Oxford

Greger Larson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford and an author on this new study, found this fallacy by sheer happenstance. While investigating the rabbit genome, he had his graduate student chase down the Vatican record showing Pope Gregory gave the go-ahead to make meals of fetal rabbits.

“I wanted to make sure we had our T’s crossed and I’s dotted,” Larson says. “But when my student came back, he said, ‘Um, small issue. The story is bollocks.’”

Student - Evan - Irving-Pease - Record - Proof

The student, Evan Irving-Pease, couldn’t find any record or proof pointing to the Pope story. Larson says this...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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