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15 Turkey Facts That Will Make You Sound Smart This Thanksgiving

If the words snood and wattle sound funny to you, then you are going to gobble this post right up!

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3. The wild turkey and the domestic turkey (which we eat), both belong to the same species, but they look different because the domestic ones descended from a different subspecies.

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The subspecies that we eat, Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo, was actually imported from Europe by early settlers in Jamestown, Virginia. This kind of turkey got to Europe in the first place because it had earlier been imported by Spanish explorers from the Aztecs.


9. Female turkeys seem to prefer gobblers with longer snoods. Other males are generally subordinate to their big-snooded peers.

NBC / schizoform / Alex Kasprak / BuzzFeed / Via Flickr: schizoform

If you are a gobbler with a big snood, chances are you are going to win a mate and dominate in a fight. You will likely be healthier as well!

10. A group of related males will band together to court females, though only one member will end up getting lucky.

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This is called "cooperative courtship," and many biologists think that it is a good way for subordinate males to pass much of their genetic information (found in a related dominant male) to future generations.

11. The wild turkey almost went extinct in the early 1900s, but their numbers are strong today.

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The American wild turkey was hunted nearly to extinction by the early 1900s, but their numbers are on the rise due to extensive efforts to reintroduce the species into their former habitats.

Science Writer, Fossil Beastmaster

Contact Alex Kasprak at

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