Fowl Science



Look familiar?


If you've eaten chicken (or turkey) lately, it might. It's the sternum, or breastbone, of a chicken. Our human equivalent is flat; perhaps because we don't fly, sigh. Chickens are the sprinters of the flight world and primarily fly in short upward bursts when they need to roost in trees for the night. 


Skeletal muscle, the kind of muscle attached to bones and that allows for movement, comes in two types; fast twitch and slow twitch. Slow twitch muscle fibers are better for endurance activities like standing or walking or long distance running. They can work for a long time without getting tired. Fast twitch muscles are good for rapid movements like jumping or sprinting. They contract quickly, but get tired fast, and they consume lots of energy.


Most of your muscles are made up of a mixture of both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. In humans, the muscles in your back that work to maintain your posture contain mainly slow twitch muscle fibers.


Chickens have fast and slow twitch muscle, too. Leg muscles used for standing are slow twitch and are darker-colored compared to muscles used for quick bursts of activity. Chickens and turkeys, which only fly in short bursts, have mainly fast-twitch (white meat) muscles in their breasts. What would you expect in the breast of bird like a goose that flies long distances? (Hint: it's not white meat)


So the next time you ask for “light” meat or “dark” meat, consider what that means. And think, too, about God who designed birds to have the perfect amount of fast and slow twitch fibers to do the job they were intended to do.


Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Matthew 6:26 


Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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